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Told by 



. . The Same Set Forth . . 
in the Tongue of the English 



4 V 

yJU ^ i i 


London, Paris, New York dr» Melbourne 






Saved from the Sea • . . 1 


The Princess begins Her Reign 13 


The Title -Deed of the Sword . . . . . .25 


The Colonel of Conn aught 37 


The Queen's Peace ........ 50 




Grace O'Malley dances out of Galway .... 64 

The Die Cast 81 

The Capture of the Capitana 94 


A Chest of Gold 108 


A Woman's Wile 121 


"Redshank and Rebel" 135 

The Whispering Rocks ... .... 149 

A Surprise - . .164 



The Gate of Fears .179 


The Siege is Raised 194 

"Our Natural Leader" ....... 210 

A Dear Victory . . . . . . . . . 224 

At Askeaton , , 239 

The Landing of the Spaniards . . . . . .253 


Such Stuff as Dreams . . . . . . . .267 

The Perfidy of Desmond 282 





" Only a Woman " 297 


The Parting of the Ways . . . . .* .310 

Barrington Bridge . ... 325 




It has now become so much a matter of custom 
— after that familiar human fashion which causes 
us to turn our faces to the rising sun — to praise 
and laud the King, James the Sixth of Scotland and 
First of England and Ireland, in the beginning of 
whose reign over the three kingdoms — to which he 
has been pleased to give the name of Great Britain 
—this chronicle is written, that there would appear 
to be some danger of a wonderful truth being for- 

For there can be no doubt that his Highness 
follows upon a most remarkable age — an age which 
must be known throughout all time to come as the 
Age of Great Women. 

And when I think upon Elizabeth of England ? 
who broke the power of Spain, of Mary of Scotland, 
whose beauty and whose wickedness were at once 
the delight and the despair of her people, and of the 



French queens, whose talents in statecraft have 
never been equalled, I make bold to deny that the 
period of the rule of his Highness will be in any 
respect as glorious as that which immediately pre- 
ceded his time, and in which these great women 

Now, whether it was from the influence and in- 
spiration of these high and mighty exemplars, or 
because it was born of the pith and marrow of 
decreed circumstance, and so lay at the very heart of 
things, that women should then lead the way, and that 
men should give themselves up entirely to their service, 
I cannot say. Yet I know that there were other women 
of less exalted rank than those I have mentioned, 
whose powers, although displayed on but a small 
stage, were seen to be so superior to those of men 
that men willingly obeyed them, and lived and died 
for them — and living or dying were glad indeed. 

And the story which I have to tell is the story 
of such an one. 

It was my lot, for so had Destiny cast out from 
her urn the shell on which my name was marked, 
that I, Ruari Macdonald, of the Clandonald, of the 
family of the Lords of the Isles, both of the Outer and 
the Inner Seas, having been unnaturally deprived 
of my home and lands in Isla, should have been 
saved to become the servant of that extraordinary 
woman called, in the tongue of the English, Grace 

It is also not unusual for her to be spoken of 
by them as the "Pirate Princess," and the "Pirate 



Chieftainess of Galway and there have been some 
who have described her as a " notable traitress/' and a 
" nursing mother of rebels." But to us Celts, and to 
me in particular, her name can never be uttered in 
our own liquid speech without something of the same 
feeling being stirred within us as when we listen 
to the sounds of soft music — so sweet and dear a 
name it is. 

It is true, perhaps, that its sweetness has rather 
grown upon me with advancing years. Be sure, how- 
ever, there was a time when her name uplifted my 
heart and made strong my arm more than the 
clamour of trumpets and all the mad delight of 
war. But it seems far off and long ago, a thing of 
shadows and not more real than they. And yet I 
have only to sit still, and close my eyes for a space, 
and, lo, the door of the past swings open, and I stand 
once more in the Hall of Memories Unforgotten. 

Now that the fingers of time fasten themselves 
upon me so that I shake them off but with fainting 
and difficulty, and then only to find them presently 
the more firmly fixed, I think it well before my days 
are done to set forth in such manner as I can what I 
know of this great woman. 

I say, humbly, in such manner as I can. 

For I am well assured of one thing, and it 
is this — that it is far beyond me to give any even 
fairly complete picture of her wit and her wisdom, of 
her patience and her courage, and of those other 
splendid qualities which made her what she was. 
And this, I fear, will still more be the case when I 
b 2 



come to tell of the love and the hate and the other 
strong stormy passions which entered into her life, 
and which so nearly made shipwreck of all her hopes, 
and which in some sort not only did change her 
whole course but also that of her country. 

And, first of all, must I declare how it was that 
I, Ruari Macdonald, a Scot of the Western Isles, 
came to have my fortunes so much bound up with 
those of Grace O'Malley. In the ordinary circum- 
stances of a man of my birth there would have 
fallen out nothing more remarkable than the tale, 
perhaps, of some fierce fighting in our Highland or 
Island feuds, and that, most probably, would have 
circled round our hereditary enemies, the Macleans 
of the Rinns of Isla. But thus was it not with me, 
albeit it was to these same ancient foes of my 
tribe that I owe my knowledge of Grace O'Mallej'. 

Well do I recall the occasion on which I first 
heard her voice. In truth I was so situated at 
the time that while other recollections may pass 
out of my mind, as assuredly many have passed 
away, the memory of that never will. 

" Do not kill him, do not kill him ! " said a shrill 
treble, piping cle&r and high above the hard tones of 
men's voices mingled together, and harsh from the 
rough breath of the sea. 

" Throw him into the water ! " cried one. 

" Put him back in the boat ! " cried another. 

" Best to make an end of him ! " said a tall, 
dark man, who spoke with an air of authority. And 
he made as if to draw his sword. 



" No ! no ! " cried the shrill treble. " Do not 
kill him. See, he is only a little boy, a child. Give 
him to me, father." 

There was a burst of laughter from the men, and 
the shrill treble, as if encouraged, again cried, " Give 
him to me, father." 

" What would you do with him, darling ? " 

" I know not, father, but spare him. You pro- 
mised before we set out from Clew Bay to give 
me whatever I might ask of you, if it was in your 
power. And now I ask his life. Give him to me, 

There was a silence for a short space, and I 
opened my weary, fear-haunted eyes, gazing dazed 
and distracted about me. Then I saw a small, 
ruddy-cheeked, black-haired maid on the deck of 
a ship, while around her and me was grouped a 
band of sun-browned, unkempt, and savage-looking 
sailors, clad in garments not very different from 
those of my own people. In the midst of them 
was the man whom the maid addressed as father. 
I, the little boy, the child of whom she had spoken, 
was lying bound at her feet. 

My mind was distraught and overwhelmed with 
the terror and horror of what I had already under- 
gone. Hungry and thirsty, and bruised and sore, 
I cared but little what might happen to me, 
thinking that death itself could hold no greater 
suffering than that I had just passed through. But 
the sight of the maid among these men of the sea 
awoke my boyish curiosity. As I gazed at her, a 



great wave carried the vessel up on its crest, and 
had she not put forth her hand and caught roe 
by the thongs of deer with which I was bound, I 
would have rolled like a helpless log into the hissing 

" See," she said, " he is mine." 

"Then be it so," her father agreed, after some 
hesitation. "And yet, it may not be well. Do you 
understand our language ? " he asked of me. 

"Yes," I replied. I knew the Irish tongue, 
which is almost the same as our own, in which 
he addressed me. For there was much traffic 
between the Scottish Islands of the West and the 
North of Ireland, where 'many of my own clan had 
settled, the " Scots of the Glens " of Ulster. So I 
had heard Irish spoken frequently. 

" Who are you ? " he demanded. 

" I am Ruari Macdonald, the son of Tormod 
Macdonald of Isla," I answered, but with diffi- 
culty, for my mouth was parched and my tongue 

" I know the breed," said he, with a smile, " and 
the Clandonald are men who may be trusted. 
Besides, you are but a boy." 

He stooped down and cut away my bonds. I 
tried to stand up, but only fell half swooning upon 
the deck. 

" Water, water ! " cried the shrill treble. " He 
is fainting from thirst." And the voice seemed 
to keep my consciousness from ebbing utterly 



Then the maid in another instant was wetting 
my cracked and thickened lips from a silver cup, 
and I drank and was refreshed. Next she brought 
me food and a little Spanish wine. 

" Let him eat and drink," said she, " so that his 
life may be whole within him again." 

Taking me by the hand as soon as I had suffi- 
ciently recovered, and followed by her father, she 
led me to the poop of the ship, where there was 
a sort of cabin, or " castle," as it is called. 

"Now, Ruari Maedpnald of Isla," said the man, 
who was evidently the commander of the vessel, 
" tell me how *it was that you came to be on 
the wide sea, lying bound and nearly dead, in 
that small boat Ave picked up an hour or so 
ago ? " 

"The Macleans," I gasped, for speech was still 
a burden to me. But before long my tongue was 
loosened, and I told them all I knew of what had 

" The Macleans," said I, " of the Rinns of Isla, 
who were ever our foes, but with whom we had 
been at peace for a long time, suddenly set upon 
and surprised my father's castle by night. I was 
awakened by the sounds of clashing swords and 
the death shrieks of men and women — the most 
fearsome cries — so that my blood ran cold and my 
heart stood still." 

I stopped and choked as I spoke. The 
maid nodded kindly, and put her little hand in 


"Although I had never seen a fight," continued 
I, " I had been told often and often of battles, so 
I guessed at once what was going on. I got up 
from my couch, and in the darkness called my 
mother's name, but she answered not. I was alone 
in the chamber. Terrified, I shrieked and sobbed. 
Then the room filled with smoke. The castle was 
on fire. Making the best of my way to the door 
I was clasped in my mother's arms. She carried 
a lighted torch, but I came upon her so sharply 
that it fell out of her hand and was extin- 

" ' We are lost/ she wailed, pressing me wildly 
against her bosom, while I could feel her heart 
beating fast and hard against my own. 

"'What, is it, mother?' I asked; but I knew 
without any words from her. 

" We were standing in a corridor, but the smoke 
soon became so dense that we could no longer endure 
it. Hardly knowing what she did, I think, she 
dragged me along to a window in the room where 
I had slept, and opening it, looked out. The yard of 
the castle was alive with men holding blazing sticks 
of fir, and flames shot up from the burning door of 
the central tower in which we stood. I also looked 
out, and noticed dark, silent forms lying prone upon 
the ground. 

" 4 Fire or sword ? What matters it ? ' I heard her 
whisper to herself. 4 Lost, lost, lost ! Oh, Ruari, my 
son, my son ! ' And she kissed me — the last kisses 
she ever gave." 



I broke down weeping. The little hand of the 
maid caressed and soothed me. 

" We had been spied from the yard," I went on, 
after I had had my fill of crying, and a great hoarse 
voice rose above the din. 

" ' Fetch me the woman and the child alive ! ' was 
what it said. 

"'It is Red Angus Maclean/ said my mother, 

" Then four clansmen plunged through the smoke 
and flame, and burst in upon us. Seizing us roughly, 
they took us half dead to Red Angus. 

" ' Do what you will with me,' said my mother, 
falling on her knees before him, 1 but shed not the 
blood of the lad/ she implored and prayed of him. 
' He has never done you any harm/ 

" He scowled at us, and played with the handle of 
his dirk. 

« < Why should I not slay ye both ? ' said he. 
'When did ever a Macdonald spare a Maclean, tell 
me that ? ' He paused, as if in thought. ' But listen/ 
he began again. 'Choose you/ said he, speaking to 
my mother, ' for such is my humour, choose you, 
your life or the boy's/ 

" ' Thank ye/ said my mother. ' Never did I 
think I should live to thank a Maclean. Swear you 
will not shed his innocent blood, and I shall die 

" ' Have ye chosen ? ' said he. 

" ' Will ye swear not to put him to the sword ? ' 

" ' Yes/ said he, and glared at her. 



" ' Ye have chosen/ said he at length. 

" ' Yes/ said my mother ; and with her eyes fixed 
on me, she fell beneath the stabs of his dirk ; but even 
as she fell I sprang from the arms of the men who 
held me, and leapt like a wild cat of Mull straight for 
his throat, but he caught and crushed me in his 

" ' Remember your oath ! ' cried my mother to him, 
and died. 

" Seeing that she was dead he laughed a terrible 
laugh, so empty of mirth and so full of menace 
was it. 

" ' Ay, I shall keep my oath/ said he. 1 No drop 
of his blood shall be shed. But die he too must, and 
so shall this accursed brood be destroyed from off' the 
face of the earth. Bind him so that he cannot 
escape/ he ordered. 

" And they bound me with strips of tanned deer- 
skin, even as you saw when I was found in the drift- 
ing boat. Then he spoke to two of his men, who 
carried me down to the beach, and threw me into the 
bottom of the boat. Getting themselves into another, 
they towed- that which I was in some two or three 
miles from shore, until, indeed, I could hear the 
struggling of the waters made by the tide, called the 
' Race of Strangers/ And then they left me to the 
mercy of the sea." 

" How long ago was that ? " asked the maid. 

a Two days ago," I replied. " I drifted, drifted 
with wave and tide, expecting every moment to be 
swallowed up ; and part of the time, perhaps, I slept, 



for I cannot remember everything that took place. 
And then you found the boat, and me in it," I 
added simply. 

" Tis a strange story," said the maid's father ; and 
he turned away to see to the working of the ship, 
which was straining and plunging heavily in the 
swell, and left us two children to ourselves. 

I looked at the maid, who had been so tender and 

" Who are ye ? " I asked timidly. 

" I am Grace O'Malley," said she proudly, " the 
daughter of Owen O'Malley of Erris and of Burris- 
hoole in Connaught — he who has just gone from 

And then she told me of herself, of her father, 
and of her people, and that the ship was now re- 
turning to Clare Island, which belonged to them. 

"See," said she, "pointing through a window in 
the stern, "there are the headlands of Achill, only 
a few miles from Clare Island," and I looked out 
and saw those black ramparts of rock upon which 
the ocean hurls itself in vain. 

" Now Clare Island comes into view," she con- 
tinued, and peeping out again I beheld the shoulder 
of the hill of Knockmore looming up, while beyond 
it lay a mass of islands, and still further away the 
mountains on the coast. 

"AH this," said the maid with a sweep of her 
hand, " and the mainland beyond, is the Land of the 

" And is the water also yours ? " I asked, attempt- 



ing a boy's shy pleasantry, for so had she won me 
from my grief. 

" Yes," replied the maid, " the water even more 
than the land is ours/' And she looked — what 
she was, though but a little maid — the daughter 
of a king of the sea. 




Ten years, swift as the flight of wild swans winging 
their way southward when the first wind of winter 
sweeps behind them, passed over our heads in the 
Land of the O'Malleys ; nor did they pass without 
bringing many changes with them. And yet it so 
happened that no very startling or determining event 
occurred till at the very close of this period. 

The little maid who had saved me from the sea 
had grown into a woman, tall of stature and queenly 
in carriage — in a word, a commanding figure, one to 
be obeyed, yet also one who had the gifts which made 
obedience to her pleasant and easy. Already she had 
proved herself in attack by sea or assault on shore a 
born leader, brave as the bravest man amongst us all, 
but with a mind of larger grasp than any of ours. 

Yet were there times when she was as one who 
sees visions and feeds on fantasies; and I was ever 
afraid for her and us when I saw in her face the 
strange light shining through the veil of the flesh 
which spoke of the dreaming soul. 

But more than anything else, she possessed in per- 
fection a woman's power to fascinate and charm. Her 
smiles were bright and warm as the sunshine, and she 
seemed to know what she should say or do in order 


that each man should bring to her service of his best. 
For this one, the ready jest, the gay retort, the laugh- 
ing suggestion, the hinted rebuke ; for that, plain praise 
or plain blame, as she thought suited the case. She 
understood how to manage men. And yet was she at 
times a very woman — petulant, unreasonable, and 
capricious. Under the spell of passion she would 
storm and rage and scold, and then she was ill to 
cross and hard to hold. For the rest, she was the 
most fearless creature ever quickened with the 
breath of life. 

I have heard it asserted that Grace O'Malley was 
wholly wanting in gentleness and tenderness, but I 
know better. Thesb were no lush days of soft dal- 
liance in the Ireland in which we lived ; the days were 
wine-red with the blood of men, and dark with the 
blinding tears of widows and orphans. The sword, 
and the sword alone, kept what the sword had taken 
And yet was she of a heart all too tender, not infre- 
quently, for such a time. 

Chiefly did she show this gracious side of her 
nature in her fond care of her foster-sister, Eva 
O'Malley, who had been entrusted when a child, a 
year or two after my arrival at Clare Island, to Owen 
O'Malley by a sub-chief who governed one of the 
islands lying off the coast of Iar-Connaught. 

Never was there a greater contrast between two 
human beings of the same kin than there was be- 
tween those two women : Grace — dark, tall, splendid, 
regal ; Eva — fair, tiny, delicate, timid, and utterly 
unlike any of her own people. 


Clay are we all, fashioned by the Potter on His 
wheel according to His mind, and as we are made so 
we are. Thus it was that, while I admired, I rever- 
enced and I obeyed Grace O'Malley — God, He knows 
that I would have died to serve her, and, indeed, 
never counted the cost if so be I pleased her — I 
loved, loved, loved this little bit of a woman, who 
was as frail as a flower, and more lovely in my sight 
than any. 

Men were in two minds — ay, the same man was 
often in two minds — as to whether Grace O'Malley 
was beautiful or not; but they were never in any 
doubt, for there could be none, of Eva's loveliness. 
Howbeit, I had said nothing of what was in my 
thoughts to Eva ; that was a secret which I deemed 
was mine alone. 

For myself, I had grown to man's estate — a big 
fellow and a strong, who might be depended upon 
to look after ship or galley with some regard for 
seamanship, and not to turn my back in the day 
of battle, unless nothing else were possible. 

Owen O'Malley had received me, the outcast of 
Isla, into his own family, treating me as a son rather 
than as a stranger, and, although I never ceased to be 
a Scot, I was proud to be considered one of the Irish 
also. Under his tuition I learned all the ways and 
customs of his people — a wild people and a fierce, like 
my own. So far as Connaught was concerned, these 
ten years were for the most part a time of peace 
among its tribes, and thus it was that I came to know 
like a native its forests and mountains, its rivers and 



lakes, and the chief men of the O'Flahertys and 
Burkes and O'Connors, whose territories marched 
with those of the O'Malleys on the mainland. 

But I learned much more, for Owen O'Malley 
taught me how to steer and handle a ship so that 
it became a thing of my own — nay, rather a part of 
myself. He also gave me my knowledge of the coasts 
of Ireland, and there was scarcely a bay or an inlet or 
a haven, especially on the western shores, into which 
I had not sailed. And as he proved me and found 
me faithful, he himself showed me the Caves of 
Silence under the Hill of Sorrow — strange, gloomy 
caverns, partly the work of nature and partly of man, 
once the homes of a race long perished, of whom no 
other trace now remains. With the exception of 
Grace O'Malley, from whom he kept nothing hid, and 
himself, no one but I was aware of the entrance to 
them and of what lay concealed within. 

It had been the habit time out of mind of the 
O'Malleys to take toll of all shipping in these waters, 
and to make raids from their galleys upon unfriendly 
tribes living along the coast. The fishermen who 
came over from Devon, and who paid tribute according 
to the number of their smacks, went unmolested ; but 
the merchant trader was ever thought to be a fair 
prey. Thus, except in winter, when storms tied up 
O'Malley 's ships in the harbours of Clare or Burris- 
hoole, Owen's three great galleys were constantly 
at sea. 

After I had reached manhood it was usual for 
Owen himself to be in command of one, Grace of the 


second, and myself of the third. It was one of these 
expeditions which brought about an event that 
changed the course of our lives. 

We had sailed southward, and were standing out 
one night late in spring about three miles from 
the northern shores of Kerry, on the watch for any 
trader on its way to the port of Limerick. The 
coolness of the night still lay on the edge of dawn 
under the dying stars, when a fog, dense, dark, and 
choking, encompassed us around, so that our three 
ships lost sight of each other and soon drifted out 
of hail. 

Hours passed, and still the fog lay heavy and 
close. In the afternoon it lightened and lifted and 
disappeared. There were no signs of our companions. 
I made my course for a creek at the mouth of the 
Shannon, where it had been arranged we were to 
meet in case of any mishap. Towards evening the 
galley called The Grey Wolf, with Grace O'Malley as 
its chief, came bowling up alongside. 

Obeying her summons to go over to her ship, 
I went on board The Grey Wolf, when we exchanged 
greetings, enquiring of each other if we had seen 
or heard anything of The Winged Horse, her father's 
vessel. Neither of us knew anything of it, and there 
was nothing to be done but to await its arrival. We 
were chatting pleasantly, when I saw outlined against 
the sunset flaming in the west the bulk of a 
merchantman, which we guessed from her build 
and rig to be an English ship, probably from Bristol, 
coming on under press of sail, 



On she came in stately fashion, with her sails 
bellying out in the fresh breeze, and we could hear 
her men singing snatches of sailor glees upon her 
decks. We gazed at her, and then we saw a dreadful 
and an uncanny thing. Grace O'Malley was the first 
to speak. 

" Look, look ! " she said. « What is that ? " 

My eyes were fixed on the ship, but I could not 
tell what it was that we saw. 

"I know not," I replied. "Perhaps it is some 
new device of these English. No ; it can hardly be 
that. What is it, I wonder ? " 

We stared and stared at it, but could make 
nothing of it. 

" It might almost be a phantom ship, Kuari," she 
said. " But we see it too plainly and hear the sailors 
too well for that." 

Meanwhile, I noticed that the men in our galleys 
stood about the bulwarks, rubbing their eyes and 
shading them with their hands, as if they felt that 
here was some portentous thing. 

This is what we saw as the English vessel drew 
nearly abreast of us. 

On the white spread of the mainsail two huge, 
gigantic shadows of men seemed to appear, to loom 
large, to grow small, to disappear, and then to re- 
appear again. 

A sort of awe fell upon us. 
" What can it mean ? " I asked. 
"Wait," said she; "we may know soon enough, 
for I think it is of evil omen for us." 



"Tis nothing," said I boldly, although I feared 
exceedingly ; " nothing but a trick played upon us 
by the sinking sun and its shadows." 

"Nay, 'tis something more than that/' said 


Suddenly the wind fell off somewhat, and now the 
canvas of the merchantman slapped against her masts 
with dull reports like the sounds of an arquebus shot 
off at a distance. 

I saw her name in letters of white and gold — 
Rosemary , and as the way she had on carried her 
past us, I understood what was the cause of what we 
had seen. For as she swayed with the movements of 
wind and wave, we beheld two bodies strung up from 
the yard of her foremast, swinging to and fro with her 
every motion, looking, as they jerked up and down, as 
if they were still alive, struggling and gasping in their 
last agony. 

I glanced at Grace O'Malley, whose face had 
grown in an instant white and rigid. 

"Do you not see/' said she, after a moment's 
silence, " that the poor wretches are Irish from their 
dress ? Thus do these English slay and harry us day 
by day. Is there never to be an end of this wanton 
killing of our people ? " Then she became thought- 
ful, and added in a tone of sadness, "My heart 
misgives me, Ruari ; I feel the grip of misfortune 
and grief." 

" Make no bridge for trouble to pass over," said I, 
and spoke many words of comfort and confidence, to 
all of which she scarcely listened. Respecting her 
c 2 



mood, I left her, and went back to my own ship, The 
Cross of Blood. 

That night, while I was on watch, I heard the soft 
splash of oars, and presently out of the darkness there 
came the hail of a sailor from the bow of The Winged 
Horse, as she rounded the point and slipped into the 
creek where we lay. 

Something in the tone of the sailor's voice, more 
perhaps in the slow drooping of the oars, at once 
aroused my attention. Without words I knew that 
all was not well. Where was the chief ? There could 
but be one reason why there was no sign of Owen 
O'Malley himself. Either ho was grievously wounded 
or he was dead. Hastily I swung myself into the 
boat of my galley, and made for The Winged Horse, 
which was now riding at anchor about a bow shot 

Tibbot, the best of pilots and steersmen in Ireland, 
met me as I clambered up on to the deck. 

" Whist ! " he entreated, as I was beginning to 
open my mouth in eager questionings. 

" What has happened ? " I asked in a whisper. 
" The chief has been badly hurt," he replied. " He 
lies in the poop cabin, bleeding, I fear, to death/' 

" What ! " I exclaimed ; " bleeding to death ? " 

u Let me tell you " 

But I interrupted him sharply. 

" I must see him at once," I said, and I made my 
way to the poop, where, stretched on a couch of 
skins, lay my friend and master. As I bent over him 
he opened his eyes, and though the cabin was but 



dimly lighted, I thought he smiled. I took his hand 
and knelt beside him. My anguish was so keen that 
I could not speak. 

" Ruari," said he, and that great full voice of his 
had been changed into that of a babe ; " is it you 
Ruari ? " 

" Yes ; it is I," replied I, finding nothing else to 
say, for words failed me. 

" Ruari, I am dying," said he simply, as one who 
knew the state in which , he was, and feared not. " I 
have received the message of death, and soon must 
my name be blotted out from among the living." 

As he was speaking there was a rustling in the 
waist of the ship, and Grace O'Malley stood beside us. 

"Father, father," she cried, and taking his head 
and shoulders on her breast, she crooned over him 
and kissed him, murmuring words of passionate 
mourning, more like a mother than a daughter. 

" Grace," said he, and his voice w r as so small that 
my breathing, by contrast, seemed loud and obtrusive. 
" I am far spent, and the end of all things is come for 
me. Listen, then, to my last words." 

And she bent over him till her ear was at his lips. 

" In the blinding fog," continued he, " we drifted 
as the ocean currents took us, this way and that, 
carrying us we knew not whither — drifting to our 
doom. The galley, before we could make shift to 
change her course, scraped against the sides of an 
English ship — we just saw her black hull in the mist, 
and then we were on her." 

The weak voice became weaker still. 



" It was too big a ship for us, yet there was but 
one thing to do. I have ever said that the boldest 
thing is the safest thing — indeed, the only thing. So 
I ordered the boarders forward, and bade the rowers 
take their weapons and follow on." 

The dimming eyes grew luminous and bright. 

" It was a gallant fight," he said, and his accents 
took on a little of their old firmness, " but she was too 
strong for us. In the attempt we lost several of our 
men, and two were taken prisoners. We were 
beaten off Just as the vessels drove apart, and 
the barque was lost in the mist, a stray shot from an 
arquebus hit me in the thigh — and I know I can- 
not survive." 

" What was the name of the ship ? " asked Grace. 

"The Rosemary, of Bristol," he replied. It was 
the name of the merchantman we had seen with the 
two corpses swinging from the yard of her foremast. 
" You will avenge my death, Grace, but not now. 
You must return at once to Connaught, and assemble 
our people. Tell them that my wish, my command at 
the point of death, is that you should succeed me in 
the chieftainship." 

There was no sound for a space save only the cry 
of the curlews on the shore, calling to their mates 
that another day was dawning. 

"Ruari," said the ghost of a voice, "Ruari, I 
had hoped that you and Grace " 

" But the cold fingers of death sealed the lips 
of the speaker. 

Grace O'Malley fell forward on the stiffening 



body; and, thinking it best, I left the living and 
the dead together. In another hour the three 
gallej^s were beating northward up the coast, and 
on the evening of the second day after Owen 
O'Malley's death we anchored in the haven of Clare 
Island, where the body was buried with all the 
honours and ancient ceremonies paid by the Irish 
to their chiefs. 

Then came the meeting of the clan to determine 
who should succeed Owen O'Malley, for, according 
to a law similar to that which prevails among 
our Celts of the Islands, the members of each sept 
who have reached the age of the warrior, have a 
voice in the election of chiefs. As I was not in 
reality one of themselves, nor could forget that I 
was a Scot — a Redshank, as the English called me, 
albeit I could ruffle it on occasion with the best 
Englishman that ever stepped — I took no part in 
the council, nor spoke my mind until the older 
men had said their say. 

It was at once a beautiful sight and a memorable, 
this great gathering, and the most beautiful and 
memorable thing of all was that men were content, 
and more than content, that a woman should, for 
the first time in their history, be called their chief. 

When it was my turn to speak, I related what 
I had heard fall from Owen O'Malley as he was 
dying, and, without further words, dropping on my 
knee I took the hand of Grace O'Malley, and swore 
by the Five Wounds of God to be her servant so 
long as it might be her will. 



Then her people, old and young, pressed about 
her, calling her their darling and their pride, and 
thus she became their leader and chief. 

But with the death of Owen O'Malley there was 
an end of the times of peace and quietness in 
Connaught, whereat, like the hothead I was, I 
rejoiced, not seeing the perilous adventures that 
lay before us. 




" RlJARI I " 

It was the soft note of Eva O'Malley, calling to 
me as I came within the gate of Carrickahooley 
Castle, whither Grace O'Malley, our mistress, had 
come to fulfil her period of mourning for her father. 
I had just crossed over from Clare Island on a 
small sailing vessel, which now lay in the little 
harbour under the west wall. 

" Ruari ! " 

It was ever a sound of gladness to me, that sweet 
voice ; and looking up to the chambers of the 
women, half-way up the front of the great square 
tower, I beheld the fair face, framed in its pale-gold 
curls, against the darkness of the embrasure of her 
window. My heart gave a quick bound of pleasure, 
and then I grew hot and cold by turns. 

For I loved her, and the fear that is born of 
love made my strength turn to weakness when 
I gazed upon her. Yet was I resolved to win her, 
though in what way I knew not. Neither did I 
hope overmuch up to that time that I understood 
her, for her manner was a riddle to me. 

And here let me set down what were then my 



relations with these two women, or, rather, what was 
their attitude to me. 

Grace O'Malley clearly regarded me as a younger 
brother, and never lost a certain air of protection in 
her dealings with me. To her I remained always 
in some sort "a little boy, a child," whose life she 
had saved — although I was one of the biggest men 
in Ireland. 

Eva O'Malley, who was two years younger than 
I, had tyrannised over me when I was a lad, and 
now that I was a man she mocked at and flouted 
me, dubbing me " Giant Greathead " — I say " Great- 
head," but in our language Greathead and Thickhead 
are the same — and otherwise amusing herself at 
my expense. But in her griefs and troubles it 
was to me she came, and not to Grace, as might 
have seemed more natural. 

" Ruari ! " she called, and I waved my hand to 
her in greeting. As I went into the hall she met 

" I was waiting for you," she said, " for I wished 
to speak to you before you saw Grace." 

" Yes ? " I asked, and as I noticed the freshness 
of the roseleaf face I marvelled at it for the hun- 
dredth time. 

" Grace has made an end of her mourning," she 
went on, " and her purpose now is to go to Galway 
to see the Lord Deputy, if he be there, as it is 
said he is, or, if he be not, then Sir Nicholas Malby, 
the Colonel of Connaught." 

I could have shouted for joy, for I was weary 



of forced inaction while the fine weather was passing 
us by, and all the harvest of the sea was waiting 
to be gathered in by ready hands like ours. 

" Glad am I, in truth, to hear it," said I heartily. 
I was not fond of Galway, but I was anxious to be 
again on the waters, and who could tell what might 
not happen then ? There had been no fighting for 
a long time, and the men were lusting for it, hun- 
gering and thirsting for it — only biding, like dogs 
in the leash, for the word. And I was of the same 

"But listen, Ruari," said Eva. "Is it well that 
she should go to Galway ? To my thinking there 
is a very good reason against it." 

" Indeed," said I, surprised. " What is it ? " As 
I have declared already, I had no special liking 
for Galway — and the sea is wide. 

" By going to Galway," said she, " does she not 
run the chance of putting herself in the power of 
the English? Is it not to thrust one's head into 
the very jaws of the lion ? The English never loved 
her father, Owen O'Malley, and the merchants of 
Galway were never done accusing him of supplying 
himself from their ships at his good pleasure without 
asking permission from them." 

I smiled, for what she said about the dead chief 
was true. 

" 'Tis not well to smile," said Eva, frowning. 

" There is wisdom in your words," I replied, 
becoming instantly grave at her rebuke. " But why 
not say to Grace herself what you have said to me ? " 



" Oh, you mountain of a man," she said, u to be 

so big and to be so " and she stopped, but I 

could fill up the gap for myself. 

" What have I said ? " demanded I, still more 

" Think you not that I have already spoken to 
her ? " she asked. " But she will not hearken/' 

" Why should she," said I, " care for my 
opinion ? " 

" You know she does care/' she said testily. " But 
there is more to tell you." 
" More?" I asked. 

Her manner now showed the utmost dejection. 
Her eyes were downcast, and as I regarded her I 
asked myself why it was that one so fair should 
have dark, almost black eyelashes — eyelashes which 
gave a strange shadow to her eyes. Her next 
words brought me quickly out of this musing. 

" The ' Wise Man/ " said she, " is set against her 
going. His words are of darkness and blood, and he 
declares that he sees danger for us all in the near 
future. I'm afraid — you know he sees with other 
eyes than ours." 

And she said this with such evident terror that 
inwardly, but not without some dread, I cursed the 
" Wise Man," — a certain Teige O'Toole, called " Teige 
of the Open Vision " by the people, who counted him 
to be a seer and a prophet. He was certainly skilled 
in many things, and his knowledge was not as the 
knowledge of other men. 

As she stood beside me, wistfully, entreatingly, 



and fearfully, I pondered for a brief space and then 
I said — 

" I will go and speak with Teige OToole, and 
will return anon " and forthwith went in search of 

I found him sitting on a rock, looking out to sea, 
murmuring disconsolately to himself. Straightway I 
asked him what it was that he had to say against 
Grace O'Malley's intended visit to Galway, but he 
would vouchsafe no reply other than the awesome 
words which he kept on repeating and repeating — 

" Darkness and blood ; then a little light ; blood 
and darkness, then again light — but darkness were 

Whereat I shuddered, feeling an inward chill ; yet 
I begged of him not once, nor twice, to make plain 
his meaning to me. He would not answer, so that I 
lost patience with him, and had he not been an aged 
man and an uncanny I would have shaken the ex- 
planation of his mysterious words out of his lips, and, 
as it was, was near doing so. 

Rising quickly from the stone whereon he had 
been sitting, he moved away with incredible swift- 
ness as if he had read my thoughts, leaving me 
staring blankly after him. 

What was it he had said ? 

" Darkness and blood ; and then a little light ! " 
Well, darkness and blood were no strangers to 


" Blood and darkness ; then again light — but 
darkness were better ! " 



I could make no manner of sense of it at all ; 
but I saw the meaning of it plainly enough in the 
years that followed. 

I felt a gentle touch upon my arm, and Eva 
was by my side. 

"Grace wishes you to go to her at once," 
she said. "0 Ruari, Ruari, dissuade her from 

"I will do what I can," I replied; but I knew 
beforehand that if Grace O'Malley had settled what 
she was to do, nothing I could urge was likely to 
change her purpose. 

Slowly I went into her presence. 

" Eva has told you," she said, " that we set out at 
once for Galway." 

" Yes," I answered, " but I pray you to consider the 
matter well." 

" I have considered it well," she replied ; " but 
say on." 

" Is it a necessity," I asked, " that you should go 
to • Galway ? Are there not many more places in 
Ireland for us to go to ? Is not the north open 
to us, and the west, with plenty of Spanish 
merchantmen and English trading on the broad 
waters ? " 

"All in good time," said she, smiling at my 

" Here," said I, emboldened to proceed, " here you 
are among your own people, on your own land, and no 
one will seek to molest us. But in Galway — every- 
thing is different." 



" That is it," she said earnestly. " That is the 
very reason — everything is different there." 

She stopped as if in thought. 

" Listen, Ruari ! My mind," said she, " is made 
up to go to Galway to talk over our affairs with 
the English governor." 

So this was the reason. 

" You say I am safe here," she continued, " but 
am I ? W ord was brought me only yesterday by a 
trusty messenger from Richard Burke, the Mac Wil- 
liam, that my father's old-time enemy, Murrough 
O'Flaherty, is whispering in the ear of Sir Nicholas 
Malby, the Colonel of Connaught — perhaps into the 
ear of the Lord Deputy himself, for I hear 
he is expected about this time in the city — that 
my father was an enemy of the Queen, Elizabeth, 
and that I, his daughter, am sure to follow in his 

" Murrough O'Flaherty ! " cried I, " is he not 
content with his own wide lands of Augh- 
nanure ? " 

" Content," said she. " Such a man is never con- 
tent ! Then this insidious whisperer goes on to hint 
that I am only a young woman, and that my father 
has left no heir. It is plain enough, is it not, what he 
means ? " 

u Sir Nicholas Malby," said I, " is reputed to be a 
just man and a good soldier." 

" A just man — perhaps, who knows ! That is why 
I am going to Galway. I must make clear my right 
and title to my father's possessions." 



" Right and title," I exclaimed, and unconsciously 
I placed my hand on the hilt of my sword. 

She saw and interpreted the action. 

" Our title-deed," said she, " has been that of the 
sword " 

" And so shall it always be," I broke in. 

" In one sense, yes," she assented ; " but we live in 
times of change, and things are not as they were. All 
the chiefs and lords of Ireland are now getting a title 
for their lands from the queen. Even my father did 
something of the sort. If I go not to Galway to put 
forward my claims it will be said that I am disloyal 
and a traitress." 

" So," I said, " it may be an evil to go, but it is 
a worse thing to stay here." 

"Yes," she answered; "but I have other reasons. 
It is not that I put so much trust in a piece of 
parchment, signed and sealed, although I see no 
harm in getting it. Ruari, I have purposes that 
reach far beyond Galway, and Connaught even, and 
for the present I deem it not well openly to incur the 
enmity of the English." 

This speech was beyond me, so I held my peace 
until I remembered what the " Wise Man " had said ; 
but when I mentioned it she replied that she knew 
of the matter, and though it troubled her, it would 
make no difference to her plans. 

Then she fell to brooding and thinking, as was her 
way, whereupon I left her to get the ships ready for 
sea even as she wished. 

So, before another day was passed, the three great 


galleys drew away from the shelter of Clare Island, 
and, speeding before a fair wind, made for the south. 
Grace and Eva O'Malley were on The Grey Wolf, 
Tibbot, the pilot, was in command of his dead 
master's ship, The Winged Horse, while I was on 
my own vessel, The Cross of Blood. 

We took a great company with us of nearly one 
hundred and fifty men, including a band of arque- 
busiers, besides bards and pipers, and a priest on each 
ship. The priests were not much to my liking on 
shipboard, but Grace would have them. Both Grace 
and Eva brought of the finest of their garments, all 
made of rich Spanish stuffs, so that they might 
appear before the Governor as befitted their rank. 
I myself took with me two full suits, also of Spanish 
make, and such as were worn at courts, that I might 
not appear unworthy of my mistress. 

As the wind was steady, the black cliffs of 
Achill, with the mass of Cushcanicarragh and the 
dome of Nephin behind them, soon grew distant 
in our wake. The glowing cone of the Holy Hill 
of St. Patrick, a wonder of light and shade as 
beam of sun or shadow of cloud fell upon it, sank 
behind us. 

And on we went through a sea of silence, whereon 
we saw never another ship; on past the grey or green 
islands off the coast, until the wind dropped at 
sunset. Then the rowers bent their backs and 
knotted their muscles over the oars, and so drove the 
galleys up the long, narrow arm that is called the 
Bay of Killery, until we found anchorage under the 




mighty shoulders of that king of mountains, the 
lonely Muilrea. 

At early morn, before the sun was up, albeit a far- 
off', tender flush had sprung up, like something magical, 
upon the western rim of the world, the dirl, dirl, dirl, 
and the clamp, clamp, clamp, of the oars, as they 
smote the groaning pivots on which they swung, was 
heard, and the galleys went foaming out from the 
bay, the spray rising like a fine dust of gems from 
under the forefeet of the ships. Then we caught a 
breeze, and the sails swelled and drew, while the 
sailors gat them to their places with shouts and 

Is there any coast in the four quarters of the 
globe where you will find more splendid havens than 
in the portion of Ireland lying between the Bay of 
Killery and the Bay of Galway ? Well has that land 
been named Connemara — that is, the " Bays of the 
Ocean." The rugged cliffs, whereon the weather and 
the wave have combined to throw all manner of 
cunning colours far beyond power of painter to copy,- 
still less devise, are everywhere broken by inlets, in 
many of which all the fleets of Spain and of England V 
together might have ridden safely — hardly one of 
these bays but has its island breakwater in front of 
it for its protection from the storm and tempest. 

'lis a rare home for seamen ! 

As the day wore on we fell in with a Scottish ship 
hailing from Wigtonshire, called The Lass of Carrick, 
going to Galway like ourselves. But Grace O'Malley 
had given command that until her business was 



finished with the Governor, we were to continue 
peacefully on our course, so we left her without 
scathe, whereat our men were in no way offended, 
there being but little profit to be got out of a ship 
coming from Scotland. 

A vessel going back from Galway to Scotland 
was another thing, for she generally carried a cargo 
of wines of divers sorts, to say nothing of silks and 
other valuable materials. Therefore made I a note 
in my mind to watch The Lass of Carrick when we 
were come to Galway, and to observe what she took 
away in that broad, ill-built hulk of hers when she 
left the port. 

That night the galleys put in to the Bay of 
Caslah, the most eastern harbour on that coast, and 
the following day, without adventure of any sort — 
so calm a beginning might well have told me what 
storms there would be before the end — we made 

As had been arranged between us, The Gross of 
Blood y my ship, let go her anchor in the harbour 
between the mole and the bridge by which the 
city is entered on that side, while the other galleys 
stood out some distance in the bay. Sending a 
messenger ashore, I made known the errand upon 
which we were come, and, after waiting a long time, 
received answer that the Lord Deputy was not yet 
come to Galway, but that Sir Nicholas Malby would 
see Grace O'Malley, and would give a safe- conduct 
to her and her guard. 

It was now too late for our landing that day, so 
d 2 


we remained where we were all that night. Next 
morning the three galleys rode within the harbour 
of the city, and not far from us were The Lass of 
Garrick and several other vessels, all come for the 
wines and the other merchandise of the great and 
famous city of Galway. 




It was about an hour from noon, a hot sun burning 
in a blue sky, when Grace O'Malley signified from 
The Grey Wolf that she was about to land, and 
that it was her desire that I should accompany 
her, but that I should go on shore before her, to 
make sure that she would not be detained at the 
gate. Having made a suitable response to my 
mistress, I gave command to the rowers and the 
helmsman of The Gross of Blood, and the galley 
slowly drew up alongside the wall of the harbour, 
beside the gate by which an entrance is made into 
the " Street of the Key," as it is called. 

Perhaps it was the fierce heat which indisposed 
to exertion of any sort, but the place was strangely 
quiet and still Two or three soldiers, with steel 
morions on their heads and corselets of iron about 
their bodies, gazed at us with indolent curiosity from 
the towers and parapets that looked across the bay. 

At the gate itself were an officer and his guard, 
lounging about listlessly enough in the sunshine, 
and taking apparently but a little languid interest 
in our movements. A few sailors of different 
nationalities, among whom the swarthy Spaniards 
predominated, and some of the country fisher-folk, 



walked about the quay. Not far from us The Lass 
of Carriek was discharging her cargo ; below us a 
fishing smack, with its one great sail set, was being 
rowed out to sea. 

As my galley approached within a few feet of 
the quay, I heard a whistle, or what seemed a 
whistle. Indeed, so swift and shrill did the sound 
bite into the air, that it was as if someone standing 
close beside me were trying in this fashion, very 
peremptorily, to excite my attention. At the same 
time, or, mayhap, a little sooner or a little later — 
the whole thing, it appeared to me, came together 
on the instant, as it were — I felt the rush and the 
wind made by an arrow or a bolt as it flew past 
my face. Then the crick-crack of the barb, as it 
smashed and splintered the wood of the bulwark 
behind me, followed immediately afterwards. In- 
voluntarily, I put up my hand to my cheek. 

Death had passed close to me, had almost struck 
me. Yet, hardly realising what had happened, I 
stood rooted to the spot. A queer, quaking sob 
burst from me — the surprise was so sudden, so 

My first thought was that the arrow had been 
intended for me, but I had escaped it by the breadth 
of a hair, and no more. I was untouched. Momen- 
tarily I expected other arrows; but none came. I 
asked myself what was the meaning of the solitary 
arrow. At first sight it appeared as if we were about 
to be dealt with treacherously — that we were being 
beguiled to our destruction. Evidently, that was the 



mind of my men in the matter, for they had made 
a quick and terrible outcry that we were betrayed 
when they marked the flight of the quivering shaft. 

Holding up my hand for silence, but bidding them 
take their weapons as quietly and calmly as they 
could, I waited for what might next befall. Ordering 
the oarsmen to cease rowing, the galley lay motionless 
on the water. Looking anxiously up at the parapet, 
and then at the gate, I could perceive no unusual 
commotion among the soldiers, nor could I see a 
bowman amongst them. It appeared doubtful if 
they had observed that anything out of the ordinary 
had taken place, and, certainly, they acted as if they 
had not. It plainly was no affair of theirs — that was 
sure, for they were not more on the alert than 

Whence, then, had come the arrow, and for what 
purpose, if not one of death ? 

My second thought showed me clearly that, had 
the mysterious archer intended to kill me, there 
would have been nothing easier, for, standing as I 
did on the poop, I was the best mark in the world ; 
nor would he have required any marvellous expert- 
ness in his art to have made an end of me. So, 
as everything about us now seemed favourable and 
fair for us, I next turned my regard to the arrow 
itself, which was fast in one of the beams of the 

Now for the first time I noticed that it had 
been shot into the ship in such a way that it was 
nearly or altogether hidden by the shape of the 



vessel from being seen by those on shore ; and I 
bethought me that it must have been sped without 
hostile intent, but, on the contrary, conveyed some 
message of warning which it would be well not to 
neglect. Wrenching forth the missile with an effort 
from the beam, I examined it carefully, and found, 
as I had begun to anticipate, a message ; for roughly 
inscribed upon it was the word " Beware ! " 

With the dark, foreboding saying of the Wise 
Man still ringing in my ears, it was not likely that 
I should overlook any measure of precaution that 
was in my power, but the safe-conduct of the 
Governor of Connaught had given me a feeling of 
security — which was, perhaps, not justified. Thus 
it was that I could not but suspect that the message 
of the arrow was meant to prevent me from putting 
trust overmuch in Sir Nicholas — a man whom I had 
not yet seen. 

Instead, therefore, of taking with me only six 
spearmen, as I had purposed, as part of Grace 
O'Mailey's bodyguard, I doubled the number. Besides 
these there also landed three gentlemen of her house- 
hold, chiefs from the islands, men of proved courage, 
to whom the use of the sword was as much a part of 
themselves as the breath they drew. I had already 
sent ashore early in the morning a trusty steward, 
with instructions to procure two horses for my 
mistress and Eva O'Malley, and he now, as we made 
fast to the quay, came forth from the gate with two 
splendid barbs, each attended, as is usual in Ireland, 
by its own swift-footed horse-boy. 



While our landing was proceeding I could not 
help wondering who it was that had sped the arrow, 
and why he had chosen this way of conveying his 
warning. Manifestly he was one who was afraid, and 
desired to keep in the background, for reasons that 
commended themselves sufficiently to him. Rapidly 
thinking over the affair, I came to the conclusion that 
our friend could be none other than Richard Burke, 
the Mac William of whom I have already spoken, and 
who, I had some reason to guess, cherished a tender- 
ness for Grace O'Malley. 

And right mightily glad was I to think that one 
so strong and brave was in Gal way at this time. So 
great was his fortitude and tenacity of purpose that 
he was quite commonly spoken of as Richard the 
Iron, and never in the day of adversity was there a 
stouter heart or a more vigorous arm than his. 

But why had he taken — or caused to be taken, as 
was most probable — this extraordinary method of 
apprising me of immediate danger, for that and no 
less I concluded was the meaning of that one word, 
" Beware " ? The future was to show, and that soon 

To lay The Grey Wolf alongside of The Gross of 
Blood was the work of a few minutes, and soon the 
two ladies were mounted upon their horses, but not 
before I had told Grace O'Malley of the incident 
of the arrow, and asked if she had any further 
commands to give. 

Now, my mistress was possessed of that high and 
proud sort of spirit upon which the hint of danger 



acts as fuel tcT fire or spur to steed. So she did but 
cast her eyes over the men I had picked out, and, 
selecting a similar number from her own ship, said 
that her purpose was unchanged. 

"Tell the officer on guard at the gate," said she, 
" that I go to confer with the Governor, Sir Nicholas 
Malby, on affairs of state/' 

The captain of the gate appeared to be somewhat 
dazed with the size of our company, which numbered 
more than thirty swords, spears, and battleaxes, and 
he arranged his men in a line as we advanced. 
Saluting my mistresses with grave punctilio, he 
informed us that Sir Nicholas was lodged at the 
house of the Mayor of Galway, where for the time 
he held his court. But, he said, as he stood resting 
the point of his drawn sword upon the ground, orders 
had been given to admit into the town only the lady 
Grace O'Malley, her women, and not more than a 
few of her people. 

When I protested against this, he replied that 
the Governor was very strict; and as for himself, 
he was merely a soldier whose duty was to do 
what he was bid. 

My mistress, as he spoke, flashed on me a glance 
of quick intelligence ; then she turned with a brilliant, 
compelling smile to the officer. 

" Sir," cried she with animation, looking with her 
dark, lovely eyes into the eyes of the Englishman, 
"you speak as a soldier should. But here" — and 
she waved her hand round her company — " are not 
more than a few of my people, as it were. You 



think that we be too many ? Nay, sir, 'tis not so. 
Is it not fitting to do as much honour as I can 
to the Governor ? And the more of us the greater 
the honour done him ? " 

And she smiled again upon the officer, who was 
a young man and a gallant, to his undoing. While 
they were thus engaged in parleying — they conversed 
for some time, but what further was said I did not 
hear — we had pressed within the gate and filled 
up part of the street beyond. Having gained this 
position, I had no thought of retreating. The 
captain, noting our bearing, and partly won over 
by Grace O'Malley's woman's wiles, partly making 
a virtue of necessity, for we could easily have over- 
powered his men, again gravely saluted. 

"Be it as you wish, lady," he said; and so we 
passed on up the Street of the Key. 

It has been my lot to see of great cities not a few, 
but, though I had scant reason to love the place, not 
many, I will say, that were finer or more handsomely 
built than Galway was in these days. She was now 
at the very height of her prosperity, and laid claim 
to be second in the kingdom to Dublin alone, and 
proudly vaunted her superiority over her ancient 
rival Limerick. 

As we marched up the Street of the Key, the 
ladies magnificently attired in our midst, and pre- 
sently entered the High Street, the tall spires of 
the church of St. Nicholas of Myra — the patron saint 
of mariners, who hath ever been most favourable 
to me — rose in front of us ; while the storehouses 



of the merchant princes of the city — the Lynches, 
the Martins, the Blakes, the Kirv/ans, and others 
whose names escape me — encompassed us with vast 
buildings of dressed stone on every hand. 

On all sides were signs of abundance and wealth. 
And small wonder; for there was hardly a port of 
France or Spain — nay, of all Europe — whither the 
ships of Galway did not go. Her traders, ever un- 
satisfied, had even sailed out beyond the Spanish 
Main to the Indies. 

But it must be remembered that Galway was 
not an Irish city, but an English — where it was 
not Spanish. The strong walls and tov/ers which 
belted her in were not more for defence against 
an enemy who might attack her from the sea, than 
against the Irishry who dwelt bej^ond her gates. 
And keen and bitter as was the hatred between 
Englishman and Spaniard, that between the English- 
man of Galway and the Irishman, whose home was 
in the country, was keener and more bitter still. 
The day was not to close without a proof of this. 

On we passed, making a brave show, with the 
sun overhead shining on our arms and harness, while 
the townsmen stood and gaped, and the women 
looked out at us from their windows and doors. 
On we passed until we halted before the mansion 
of Stephen Lynch, the Mayor, reputed to be the 
richest man in Galway. Here, in front of the house, 
there was a guard, and I could see through the arch- 
way that the courtyard beyond was full of soldiers. 

After an exchange of greetings I was shown into 



an anteroom, and thence sent word to Sir Nicholas 
that my mistress was without, and waited his 
pleasure. After a slight delay, the Governor replied 
that he was at meat, and that he would think it an 
excellent omen if my mistress, her ladies and gentle- 
men, would honour him by their company. 

Then, to my surprise, the Mayor himself appeared, 
helped, with much ceremony, Grace and Eva 
O'Malley to alight, and invited then myself and 
certain of our comrades of rank to enter, at the same 
time commanding that our men should be most 
courteously entertained. 

All this display of friendliness was so different 
from what I had expected that I knew not what to 
think. Afterwards I learned that Sir Nicholas had been 
informed of our numbers, and that this had led him 
to change the plan that he had originally formed — 
which I understood was that Grace O'Malley was to 
have been at once seized and held as a prisoner until 
he had determined what was to be done in her case — 
and this notwithstanding the safe-conduct he had 

Separated as I was by some distance at table from 
my mistresses, I could not hear the conversation be- 
tween them and the Governor, who talked to them in 
a certain bluff, soldier-like fashion. Amongst others 
present were Sir Murrough O'Flaherty of Aughnanure, 
Richard Burke of Mayo, and other of the chiefs of 
Connaught who were known to us. But all my 
attention was taken up in watching, as carefully as I 
could, Sir Nicholas Malby, the Governor. 



There was no possibility of mistaking him for 
anything but what he was — the successful soldier of 
fortune. He had the port of one used to command, 
and there was a rough dignity about him that be- 
came him well. His face was scarred and weather- 
beaten, and I had heard that he had seen hard 
service, both in the Low Countries and in Spain. He 
did not come, I had been told, of any noble or con- 
siderable family. His sole possession had been his 
sword, and he had rather hewn than carved out 
his path in the world with it. 

I at once recognised in him a shrewd and capable 
man, who would not let many things stand in his 
way. Here was one, I knew, to be reckoned with. 
Myself a man who both gave, and therefore expected 
to receive, heavy blows ; he was another of the same 
sort, and I felt a certain respect for him. 

There was told a curious tale of the way in which 
he had become a soldier — and 'fore God, it is not for 
me to say I think the worse of him for it ! It is 
never a custom of mine to set down anything I hear 
to anyone's despite, yet in this instance the story 
helps show the nature of the man. 

In his youth, which was mean and poverty- 
stricken, he had been arrested, convicted, and con- 
demned to death for coining — so 'tis said, and I 
understand this to be the truth. In some manner 
or other — I know not how — he had made interest 
with one of the great nobles at the English court, and 
was released on condition that he would enter the 
nobleman's service as a soldier, and proceed to the 


war then being waged against the Emperor. And 
this he did, acquitting himself so much to the satis- 
faction of his superiors, that he was soon placed in 
command of a body of mercenaries, and displayed no 
little valour at their head. 

Later, he had come over to Ireland under Sir 
Henry Sydney, who esteemed him so highly, owing to 
the manner in which he had fought against the 
O'Neils of Ulster, that, when Sir Henry was Lord 
Deputy of Ireland for the first time, he had advanced 
him from post to post, until he was now Governor, 
or " Colonel of Connaught," as his title was. 

One thing we had heard, and that was, like all the 
rest of the English, he was very greedy for money, 
and that his ears readily listened to an argument that 
was backed up with gold. Therefore had we brought 
with us rich presents for the Governor, which were 
duly delivered to him when dinner was finished. 

Such, then, was Sir Nicholas Malby, upon whom 
the fortunes of my mistress so much depended. I 
perceived that she was studying him with no less 
intentness than myself, but that she hid this under a 
gay and sparkling demeanour. 

When the meal was over, Sir Nicholas said that 
he desired to talk with her alone, and they withdrew 
together to another room. Whereupon Sir Murrough 
OTlaherty and the other gentlemen of the Irish, 
gathered around me, plying me with many questions, 
to all of which I returned evasive replies, feeling in 
truth exceedingly anxious, and wishing nothing so 
much as to be on board my galley again with my 



mistresses safe in theirs. Nor did I have an oppor- 
tunity — as I desired — to speak privately to Richard 

It was about the middle of the afternoon when 
Grace O'Malley sent for me and presented me to Sir 
Nicholas, telling him that I was her foster-brother, and 
that I was pledged to her service. The Governor 
scanned me narrowly up and down, then suddenly 
put forth his hand and grasped mine with a grip of 
steel. I fancied, and herein I was right, as events 
subsequently proved, that he had something of the 
same feeling in regard to me as that I had ex- 
perienced for himself. 

"I have but one desire," said he, when he had 
talked for some time, " and that is, the establishment 
of the Queen's peace in Connaught." And he laid 
his hand heavily on my own. I bowed, but answered 
not, thinking in my mind that silence was best, for 
what had we to do with the Queen's peace ; we, who 
were the free rovers of the sea ? 

Then it appeared that Grace O'Malley had been 
asked by the Mayor to be his guest for awhile, and 
that she had accepted his invitation. So I now 
learned that my mistresses were not to return to the 
ships at once, but were to take up their abode in the 
mansion of the Lynches along with the Governor. 

I was none too well pleased with this arrangement, 
remembering the message of the arrow, but dis- 
sembled my fears and suspicions, particularly when 
I was informed that no objection was made to her 
keeping her guard. I further gathered from her air 



that she was not ill-content with the result of her 
interview with Sir Nicholas, and that all seemed to 
be going as she wished. 

Anon the Mayor entered, bringing with him his 
daughter Sabina, a dark, handsome woman of twenty 
summers, who was to be the hostess of my mistresses, 
for her mother was dead. And with her in this fair 
seeming entered also the shadow of Destiny — a 
shadow not to be lifted for many a day. 

It was never given to me to read the hearts of 
women, nor to comprehend their ways, but, being but 
a man, I looked upon this woman with pleasure, little 
dreaming what evil she was to work upon us. Here 
was one, had I but known it, far more to be feared 
than the bluff, determined soldier who was Colonel 
of Connaught. 





It was some three hours or so from sunset when 
I took leave of my mistresses, both of whom were 
in the highest spirits. I saw that my young and 
innocent dear was delighted with her surroundings, 
and had completely forgotten her objections to 
Galway. She and Sabina Lynch had at once become 
friends, and, indeed, it was impossible for anyone to 
see Eva O'Malley and not immediately to be gained 
over by her. 

But Grace O'Malley had a certain reserve in her 
talking with the Mayor's daughter — a reserve that 
sprang from instinct or intuition, or a forecasting of 
the future, perhaps. 

My two ladies had entrusted me with various 
orders to their women with regard to sundry boxes 
of apparel to be sent to the Lynch mansion, and as 
I set off to The Cross of Blood, I felt in better 
humour with myself and the world. Fortune at 
the moment appeared to smile upon us. Sabina 
Lynch had told me, just before I bade her good-bye, 
that her father was to give a revel with dancing — 
after the fashion which obtained at the Court of 
Elizabeth, who was immoderately fond, I have heard, 



of tliis form of entertainment — in a few days, in 
honour of the Governor. 

I could see that my mistresses both looked for- 
ward to it with keen anticipations of pleasure. At 
first I could not share in their feelings, thinking 
that we did but waste our time in Galway, until 
Grace O'Malley had confided to me, in an aside, 
that she believed her affairs would soon be settled 
with Sir Nicholas, 

She had declared to the Governor that it was 
her desire to hold her lands from the Queen, on 
condition that instead of being bound to supply for 
her Highness's service so many soldiers when called 
upon for a hosting, she should maintain her ships 
and their crews of sailors and fighting men so that 
they would be always ready to do the Queen's will, 
whether it was on the western coasts of Ireland or 
of Scotland. He had not said a Nay," but had put 
the matter off until he had considered it more 

As I was walking down the Street of the Key 
to the harbour, along with the three gentlemen of 
our household who had gone with me to the Mayor's, 
we met a party of half a dozen citizens of the place, 
all standing talking together. Their voices were 
raised either in anger or debate, and as we ap- 
proached I heard enough to understand that they 
were discussing the action of the Governor with 
regard to my mistress, and that it met with their 
strong disapprobation. 

" Our ships will never be safe/' cried one, as we 
e 2 



came up with them. They made no effort to let 
us pass, though the street was narrow at this point, 
and seemed rather as it they intended to dispute 
the ground with us. The odds were against us, 
but not too greatly ; so saying, " By your leave," I 
went on. 

"Sir," cried I, the hot, angry blood burning in 
my cheeks, as I returned roughly enough the push 
I had received from one of those who blocked the 
way, "sir, your manners stand in much need of 
mending — or ending." 

And my sword — a flash of living fire in the 
westering sun — was out in a twinkling. 

I knew the fellow who h&d insulted me. It was 
Michael Martin, a rich merchant and a person of 
authority in the town, notwithstanding his com- 
parative youth — he was not much older than myself 
— to whom I spoke. He had deliberately jostled 
against me as I made to pass him, and I was never 
blind to a hint of this kind. 

His action, coupled with the words I had heard, 
had quickly got me out of the happy frame of mind 
with which I had quitted the Mayor's mansion, and 
my thoughts were immediately of my mistresses' 
danger. His unmannerly act meant more than 
hostility to me. 

"Draw!" shouted I furiously, and his sword 
flashed out at me. Martin was neither a coward 
nor a poor swordsman, and my hands were full with 
this business in another instant. 

" Manners," quoth he, as our blades rang together 



as steel met steel; "manners! Manners, forsooth! 
Who are you to teach a gentleman of Galway 
manners ? You — the scum of the sea ! " 

And so he raved, keeping his eyes warily fixed 
on mine the while. 

These fresh insults maddened me like the stirring 
of venom from the poisonous fangs of a wolf, and 
a sudden fierce storm of passionate anger such as 
I had never before felt swept over me, as I cried to 
him across the darting swords, "We shall see, we 
shall see ! " 

Meanwhile my comrades ranged themselves beside 
me with their weapons unsheathed, and several of 
those who had been talking with Martin were not 
slow to follow their example, but it was rather, as 
it happened, with a view to forming a ring round 
my opponent and myself, so that we had the fighting 
to ourselves. 

" A brawl, a brawl ! " someone cried, and there 
was the sound of the shutting of windows and the 
closing of doors. 

My position placed me at a disadvantage, for the 
sun, now sinking downwards behind the hills on 
the other side of the Bay of Galway, cast its rays 
in my eyes, and caused me to blink, whether I 
would or no, as the points of our swords, forming 
glittering circles of flame, whirled this way and that. 
I endeavoured to force the fighting so that my 
adversary would change his ground, but he was 
fully conscious of how much he gained by main- 
taining his place, and all my efforts were vain. 



Now, as we thrust and parried, lunged and retired, 
my anger passed away, and I found myself become 
as cool and collected as if I had been on the deck 
of my ship. I had successfully met and defeated 
a stubborn attack, at the same time piercing his 
breast for a short inch mayhap, so that the blood 
spurted forth in a little jet, when Martin, saying 
quickly with a choking gasp, 

" Another time, Redshank ! " suddenly gave way, 
much to my surprise, not seeing any reason for his 
change of front. Surrounded by his friends, he 
turned swiftly, and in hot haste made off down the 
street, and, entering a narrojw lane not far from the 
wall, was lost to view. 

For one instant I stood, breathing heavily, sword 
still on guard. Then I was about to follow, when 
a voice, harsh and commanding, cried : " Halt ! Stop ! 
Halt in the Queen's name ! Halt, halt ! " 

I knew the voice, although I had heard it for 
the first time in my life that very day. It was 
Sir Nicholas Mai by, the Governor himself, and no 
other, who spoke. I also realised that I had gotten 
myself into a position of some hazard, to say the 
least, with one to whom the preservation of the 
Queen's peace was the principal object of his 

But the Governor was, above everything — so I 
said to myself — a soldier, and I flattered myself he 
would understand, and even sympathise with, my 
feelings in this matter. He was attended but by two 
of his officers, yet he came up without hesitation, 



and the fierce question of his eyes was full of 

" What is this ? " he cried. " I will have no 
brawling in the streets ! " 

I saluted with great deference, remembering, 
perhaps rather late in the day, Grace O'Malley's 
orders that we were to do everything we could to 
make our stay in Galway a peaceable one, and 
made bold to say as respectfully as I could — 

" Sir, the fault scarcely lies with us " ; and I 
went on to tell him exactly how the affair had 
been brought about, protesting that I could act in 
no other way than I had done, as the quarrel 
had been forced upon me. As I told my story 
he nodded coldly, but not disapprovingly. 

1 am resolved to have an end of all strife," 
said he ; at length, after thinking deeply for a short 
time : " Can you tell me who was the aggressor ? " 
he asked. " Did you know him ? " Then, without 
waiting for my answer, he continued threateningly, 
" I will hang any man whom I find disturbing 
the Queen's peace, be he prince or kerne, chief or 
gallowglass ! " 

Now, it was no part of my business to hand 
over Martin to the mercies of the Governor, and 
it was very much my affair, I thought, that I 
should settle my quarrel with him person- 
ally, so I made no reply to the question of Sir 

a He was a stranger to you, I presume," said 
he, and was about to pass on, but changing his 



mind, he asked whither I was bound and for what 

When I told him I was on my way to the galleys, 
and with what object, he smiled a little grimly, 
and walked with me towards the gate. He made 
many inquiries as to the number of fighting men 
there were aboard of the galleys, and the manner 
in which they were armed. I asked Sir Nicholas 
whether he would not pay a visit to The Gross of 
Blood, but he declined, as it was his custom to 
make a survey of the walls at this period of the 

"Your mistress," said he, as he left me at the 
gate, "is in good hands." And I could not but 
muse somewhat darkly at this enigmatic sentence. 

It was past the middle of the night, when I 
was aroused by someone coming softly into my 
cabin. A lantern swung from the beam above my 
head, and in the half darkness I made out Walter 
Burke, my chief officer, and with him Richard 
Burke the Mac William. In a moment I was wide 
awake, knowing that this secret visit of Richard 
the Iron was pregnant with something evil. Eagerly 
I looked into his face. 

" What brings ! " I exclaimed loudly. But 

his fingers were placed on my lips. 

" Quietly, quietly," said he. " I do not suppose 
that there are any traitors on The Cross of Blood" 
continued he. 

" All staunch, staunch," I interrupted, " every- 



" Tis well," said he ; " but what I am come to 
tell you is not a thing to be proclaimed from the 
tops of our towers." 

Stirred by a host of thronging fears, I waited, 
keenly apprehensive of his next words. They were 
heavy enough, although the misgivings I had felt 
had not left me altogether unprepared for tidings 
of the kind. 

" Grace O'Malley," said he, in a low tone which 
thrilled me through, "is virtually a prisoner in 
Galway. The Mayor, or rather, I should say, his 
daughter, has made herself answerable to the 
Governor for her. While your mistress is appar- 
ently free to come or go as she pleases, she is in 
reality deprived of her liberty, as she will discover 
if she tries to leave the mansion of the Lynches." 

" Grace O'Malley a prisoner ? " 

"That is what she is," said Richard Burke. 
" She is not bound, nor is she locked up in a room. 
Her every movement, however, is watched by Sabina 
Lynch. While she may think herself a guest, and 
an honoured guest, the hospitality is a mere pre- 

" But why, why ? " 

" There are many reasons, as you well know," 
he replied. "The mind of the Governor is set 
against allowing any of the ancient customs of the 
land; he is endeavouring quietly and skilfully — for 
he is not a blustering bully as some others are — 
to reduce the power of the chiefs and to make 
them pay tribute to the Queen. Where he does 



show his hand plainly it is always to strike a deadly 

" Yes, yes," I said, impatiently. Grace O'Malley 
a prisoner, and I sitting quietly in my ship ! The 
thing seemed impossible — yet it was true. 

"No need for haste," said he calmly. "Listen 
to what I have to say, and then you will grasp 
the matter more surely. Sir Nicholas will offer 
no violence if he can gain his point without it." 

"What is his point?" I asked. 

" Is there any need to ask ? " replied Burke. 
" Grace O'Malley is a powerful princess in Con- 
naught. She has her lands, her galleys, and several 
hundred well armed men at her back. Is that not 
enough ? Are the English not tiying to clip all our 
wings ? But there is far more in the case of your 

" Go on, go on ! " I said. 

" This," said he. " The mind of Sir Nicholas 
has been wrought upon by the merchants of Galway, 
who are ever about him, saying this and that, 
offering him valuable gifts and such things as he 

" To what end ? " 

" You know as well as I do, that these proud- 
stomached folk have no great liking for us Irish," 
said Burke. " Did you never hear that they have a 
statute of the town that ' Neither Mac nor 0' 
shall strut or swagger ' in the streets of Galway ? 
There has always been, however, a friendship between 
us Burkes of Mayo and one or two of the families 



here, as, for instance, the Lynches, and I hear through 
them all that is going on. 

" Owen O'Malley plundered the ships of the Gal- 
way merchants, making scant distinction between 
them and Spanish or French or Scottish ships. 
Grace O'Malley shared in many of her father's 
doings before he died, and the people of Galway 
think that she has inherited her father's nature 
and disposition as well as his lands and ships, 
and that as long as her galleys roam the sea 
there will be no safety for their vessels." 

The words were nearly the same as those Eva 
O'Malley had used when she tried to dissuade my 
mistress from setting out from Clew Bay. 

" What would they have Sir Nicholas do ? " I 

" Break up her ships ; scatter her people ; hang, 
kill, burn, destroy them ; hold her a prisoner ; or 
— for there is no advantage to be derived from 
our shutting our eyes — kill her, too, by poison, 
perhaps, unless she agrees to the terms of the 

Burke now spoke in great excitement, and with 
labouring breath ; nor could I listen to his words 
with any degree of composure. 

" She will never agree to the Governor's terms," 
said I. "She is being deceived, for she believes 
that Sir Nicholas is favourable to her suit." 

"Put that hope out of your mind," replied he. 
" Sir Nicholas is merely playing with her — with what 
object you can easily guess. It is for no other 



reason than to make her ruin the more com- 

I assented gloomily. 

" Now we know what to expect," I said. " We 
are forewarned and so forearmed." 

" Your mistress pays no heed to warnings/' said 
Burke hotly. 

I thought of the arrow and its message. 

" The arrow ! " I said. 

" Yes," he replied. " I could not send you word 
openly, so I chose that way, getting one of my men, 
who is a famous archer, to send the shaft into your 

I thanked him warmly, remarking, however, that 
Grace O'Malley would pay no attention to any 
warnings whatever, once she was resolved upon any 
particular course. 

" She must be told now of her danger," he said, 
" and at once." 

"I suppose," said I, "I can still see her." 

" That I know not," he replied ; " but news of 
your fight with Michael Martin is all over the town, 
and you will have to walk circumspectly. Sir Nicholas 
spoke of his meeting with you, and declared that all 
such conflicts must be severely punished. Go not 
into Galway — unless with a strong guard." 

The counsel was wise, but I was quite determined, 
if necessary, to disregard it. My mind, however, sud- 
denly went on another tack, and I spoke out what 
my thought was. 

" I must see her, and that without delay," I said ; 



"but you mentioned that you were friendly with 
the Lynches. Could not Grace O'Malley be sent 
a message through them ? If the Mayor is not 
to be trusted, surely Sabina Lynch, his daughter, 
cannot sympathise greatly with the dark and ter- 
rible projects of the Governor. Would she not 
convey a letter to my mistress?" 

Kichard Burke looked at me fixedly and search- 

"That is doubtful," said he, at length. Then he 
added, " I do not think that we can place our con- 
fidence in Sabina Lynch in anything that concerns 
Grace O'Malley." 

"Why?" I asked simply. 

He did not answer immediately, but stopped and 
pondered awhile before he replied — 

"I am about to tell you,$Ruari, what I never thought 
to say to you or any other living soul. But the need is 
urgent, and I must speak. The Lynches and myself 
are old friends. I have known Sabina Lynch since 
she was a child, and I have been made aware in 
many ways — there is no need to go further into 
that — that I am not displeasing to her now she is 
a woman. And her father has as much as intimated 
that he regards me with eyes of favour." 

I saw it all in a minute. Sabina Lynch loved 
Richard Burke, and Richard Burke did not return 
her affection Did Sabina suspect that she had a 
rival ? Did she regard Grace O'Malley as a rival ? 
These questions passed through my mind with the 
speed of light 



" What has Sabina Lynch to do with Grace 
O'Malley ? " I asked. 

" I will not conceal from you" said Burke, " that 
I am not in love with Sabina Lynch, but am in love 
with your mistress. Once I imagined that it w^as 
Owen O'Malley 's intention to wed you to his daughter, 
but neither you nor she has a passion for the 
other. Is it not so ? " 

" Yes," I replied. " She is an elder sister to me 
— I am no more than a younger brother to her." 

" I love Grace O'Malley," said he, " with all my 
soul and with all my strength. I mean to ask her 
to be my wife " 

I broke in harshly. 

" This is no time, surely, to talk of such a 
matter," I cried, " now when she is a prisoner, and 
helpless in the hands of people who are her bitter 
enemies. Rather let us cast about for some means 
of delivering her." 

. " I ask nothing better," said Burke, " than to 
assist you — only remember it is not well to place 
any confidence in Sabina Lynch." 

Then we spent the next hour discussing plans, 
and having formed one which had some promise 
of success, Burke left the galley as secretly as he 
came — his boat disappearing into the darknes of the 

After he had gone, I tried in vain to sleep, and 
finding my thoughts but dismal company, had my- 
self rowed over to The Winged Horse, where I saw 
Tibbot, the pilot, whom I informed of the visit of 



Richard Burke, and of what we had concerted to 
do for the deliverance of Grace O'Malley. And as 
we could not foresee what the next step of the 
Governor might be, it was agreed that Tibbot's 
galley should be kept ready for instant action, and 
to provide against any surprise by keeping her out 
in the bay, at such a distance that she should be 
out of the range of the calivers and bombards 
mounted on the walls of Galway. 




As early in the morning as was possible, without 
causing remark or exciting suspicion, I went into 
the town, taking with me several of my own men. 
The same officer who had been in charge of the guard 
the previous day was at the gate, and I advanced 
towards him boldly, as if) I had no notion in the 
world that there could be anything amiss, nor, so far 
as he was concerned, was there. 

For he gravely returned my salutation, merely 
giving me " Good-day " without waste of words, and 
waved his hand in the direction of the church of 
St. Nicholas of Myra. 

When I had arrived at the mansion of the Mayor, 
I could see no difference in the manner of the recep- 
tion I was accorded, except such as there would be 
owing to my mistress not being present on this 

I sent in my name, with a request that Grace 
O'Malley might be informed of my arrival, and after 
a short time — short as far as the actual minutes, 
but it appeared an age to me, so impatient and 
anxious was I — I was conducted into a spacious room, 
where I found my two ladies, Sabina Lynch, and 
several gentlemen, most of whom were Irish. They 


were in the midst of a conversation as I entered, 
and I quickly gathered that they were talking about 
the entertainment the Mayor was to give in honour 
of the Governor before many days. They were 
speaking of corantos and other dances, in which I 
had but small proficiency, and I could not help 
saying to myself that Grace O'Malley could have no 
suspicion how slippery would be the floor for her 

On endeavouring to get speech with her privately, 
I found myself completely baffled, and that so subtly 
and craftily that I raged and fumed inwardly. For 
when I attempted to draw her aside we were 
instantly joined by Sabina Lynch, who smilingly 
disguised her purpose of preventing us from talking 
together by ourselves under a mock of empty but 
pleasant words. Indeed, so skilfully and readily did 
she speak, and with so much apparently of good- 
will, that I had constantly to remind myself of all 
that Richard Burke had told me only a few hours 

What my feelings were may be guessed, but I 
did my utmost to conceal them, although not very 
successfully, as I afterwards was told by Eva 
O'Malley. I never was one who could play the 
part of gallant or courtier, and what I knew to be 
in the wind did not tend to assist me in the efforts 
I now made to be at my ease and to seem confident 
that there was not a cloud in the sky 

And it could hardly be that one, who had seen 
so much of me as Eva had, but would observe my 



clumsy attempts at gaiety and light-heartedness. 
What she thus saw in my manner made her very 
uneasy, but at the time she kept her ideas to herself. 
It was enough, however, to put her on her guard, 
and caused her to watch more narrowly whatever 
was going on. 

A couple of hours were spent in this way, and, 
disturbed beyond measure by reason of my inability 
even to breathe a word of warning to my mistress — 
I had resolved to say nothing of their peril to the 
woman I loved, fearing lest it might prove too hard a 
trial for her, wherein I misjudged her strength most 
grievously — I bade them farewell for that day. 

As I left I encountered the Governor, who was 
coming up the street. He reined up his horse, and, 
after uttering a few courteous words, asked me not 
to fail to go through the square of the town cross on 
my way to the quay. He said this with so much 
curious insistence in his tone that my interest was 
roused to the quick. 

As a man enters this square from the east side 
the first object which meets the eye is not the town 
cross, but the town gallows. As soon as I had turned 
the corner of the street I perceived that from the 
gibbet there swung in the wind, forward and back- 
ward as the breeze rose and fell, the figure of a man. 
That the Governor had intended me to see this, and 
that it had some special lesson for me, I did not 
doubt, so I pressed forward smartly. Yet it was 
with an amazed horror that I beheld the dead 
man's face. 


For the victim was none other than Michael 
Martin, my antagonist of the previous afternoon. 
The Governor had followed the matter up, and had 
discovered him whom he had called the aggressor 
in the interrupted duel. Verily was the Queen's 
peace being maintained with a vengeance. I had 
read the ruthless character of Sir Nicholas aright. 
Here, what had been a man, had been tried, 
sentenced, and executed in a few hours; and that 
Martin had occupied no inconsiderable position in 
Galway showed that the Governor was afraid of 

If he would not hesitate to act in this fashion 
in the case of one of the English of Galway, how 
much less would he care for the Irish of Connaught ? 
This I perceived plainly enough was what he 
desired Martin's death to intimate to me. For my- 
self, notwithstanding what had passed between 
Martin and me, I was hot and indignant that a man 
so brave as he should have been put to so foul a 

It was in a melancholy mood that I bent my 
steps to the quay, albeit I made a great effort to 
keep from my face the troubled thoughts of my 
mind. Not only had I failed in acquainting Grace 
O'Malley with her real position, but I was also well 
aware that the hatred with which she inspired the 
people of Galway would be made all the fiercer by 
the death of Martin. 

Striving to cast aside these sombre reflections as 
unmanly, and likely only to hamper me in any plan 
f 2 



I might make for the freeing of my mistress. I went 
on board The Cross of Blood. I, at least, was free 
as yet, and ready to do and dare all. But so far I 
could not see my way, and had I been left to myself 
to carry out the device Richard Burke and I had 
formed, would probably have suffered some such 
fate as that of Michael Martin. 

The next three days passed without any striking 
event. I had seen my mistress once at the Mayor's 
mansion, and the attempts I made to reach her 
private ear were met and checked as effectively as 
before. I noticed, however, that while she appeared 
as gay as ever, there was a something about her that 
suggested in one way or another she was now conscious 
that she was not at complete liberty. 

She had desired — so I got to know later on — 
to go down to her galley, but obstacles had been 
put in her path and objections had been raised. 
Then she had grasped the situation in which she 
had been placed, but had both the courage and the 
wisdom not to let this be evident. 

It was the fifth day of our stay in Galway when 
The Lass of Garrick cast herself off from her 
moorings by the quay, and, towed out by her two 
boats into the bay, made ready for sea. I watched 
the rich prize slip out of our hands with dismay, 
but it was my only business at present to stay where 
I was. Yet, as I noticed how deep the Scottish 
ship lay in the water, I could not but regret that 
my hands were tied. 

The captain made some signs to me which I 


did not comprehend, but which I interpreted as 
ironical farewells. I was the more mystified when, 
as I watched her approach The Winged Horse, I 
saw a boat put off from her for that galley. But 
when the night fell I had every reason to bless 
and not curse The Lass of Carrick. For in the dark 
Tibbot came on board my ship, bringing a letter from 
Grace O'Malley, which she had managed through 
one of her women, who had made love to the Scottish 
captain, to send thus secretly to me. 

Now, the revel which the Mayor was giving for 
Sir Nicholas was to take place on the next day, 
and in this letter my mistress, who was now 
thoroughly awake to her danger and also to the 
perfidy of Sabina Lynch, set forth her plan of escape. 
It was at once bold and ingenious, and had a fair 
prospect of succeeding. That it was not carried out 
exactly as had been calculated — but this is to 
anticipate events. 

My part was simplicity itself. 
My mistress told me to come to the revel, as 
I had been invited, as if attending revels had been 
my occupation all my life, and to bring with me as 
many armed men as I thought could be got safely 
into Galway. But on no account was I to omit to 
fetch the two pipers — Phelim of the White Lock 
(he had an odd-looking tuft of white hair on his 
forehead) and Cormac, his brother. What they had 
to do will appear later. 

Further, I was commanded to have the galleys 
ready to put instantly to sea, for the favourable 



outcome of the matter depended in the end on the 
swiftness of our movements. 

Having received this letter, my breast swelled 
with joy. The calm was at an end, I said, and now 
for the storm ; and ever in these days loved I storm 
more than calm. My spirits rose immediately as 
this week of wearisome waiting drew to an end and 
the time of action was at hand. 

As soon as the day had come I called my chief 
officers together, and bade them be ready to sail 
that night, and I gave a similar charge to those of 
The Grey Wolf. Then I picked out several of the 
older men, and, for a pretext that they might be 
admitted into the town the more easily, despatched 
them with boxes and bales for our mistresses, which 
they were to carry to the mansion of the Lynches. 
I also sent a gift to the Governor, in order that he 
should have no ghost of a suspicion that I knew how 
matters stood. 

In this manner, then, I introduced twenty more 
of our men into Galway, making up for their absence 
from the two galleys by causing Tibbot to send me 
some of his. 

To those sent into the town I ga,ve as a common 
meeting-place at a given hour the tavern that is 
under the sign of " The Golden Eagle," bidding them 
thereafter to assemble in the High Street near the 
Mayor's house. There they were to await my coming 
with my mistresses, if events should fall out accord- 
ing to our wish, and then, if there should be any 
need, I should tell them what to do. 


At the appointed time I presented myself at the 
Lynch mansion. Here I found a considerable com- 
pany was gathered together, many of the chiefs 
having arrived from the surrounding districts, north 
and south and east. In the streets was a great throng 
of gallowglasses and kernes, who had come into the 
place along with their chieftains. 

The scene was one of bustle and movement and 
confusion. Among the crowd, engaged in keeping 
some sort of rough order, were a few English soldiers, 
part of the garrison of Galway. I noticed many 
of our own men, and as I passed through them 
I succeeded in telling them to take as little part 
as possible in any sports or quarrels that might be 
going on, but to hold themselves prepared to rally to 
me, and to follow when I should call upon them 
to do so. 

When I entered the large room in which the 
revel was to take place, I saw Sir Nicholas and his 
officers standing in a group by themselves, receiving 
the chiefs and their ladies, as well as the principal 
citizens of Galway and their wives, as they came up. 

Near them were the Mayor and his daughter, who 
was the centre of a number of beautiful maidens and 
stalwart young men. The instruments of music were 
already sounding forth their sweetest strains, inviting 
to the dance ; and Sir Nicholas, making a stiff bow 
to the radiant Sabina, asked her to join him in a 

The dance ended, many compliments were paid 
to the pair, although to my mind the Governor had 



disported himself like a clumsy bear, such as the 
Spaniards and the men of the South have to dance 
for their amusement. 

Sabina Lynch, on the other hand, was, I will 
confess, a stately figure, and as she had been taught 
the coranto in Spain, where she had been brought up 
for some years, and so was vastly proficient in it, 
met with great and deserved attention. Indeed, I 
heard one of the English officers declare that he had 
never seen anyone more graceful or accomplished — 
no, not even at the Court of Elizabeth. 

After a brief rest, Sir Nicholas again appeared, 
now leading forth Grace O'Malley. Although she 
thoroughly understood what a mockery all this 
courtesy on the part of the Governor was, she let 
no sign of her knowledge escape her. She had 
too great a soul for that ; but had she not been cast 
in this mould of heroes she might, as a woman, have 
acted just as she did, so that she should give no 
• triumph to Sabina Lynch. 

Dance followed dance in quick succession, and 
both of my mistresses took their full share of all 
that went on. Both of them appeared to be devoting 
themselves without reserve to the pleasure of the 
occasion, and I could not but admire them. My 
love for Eva O'Malley was quickened anew, if that 
were possible, when I saw how unmoved she was, 
and how brave a carriage she kept, despite the fact 
that she knew they were but prisoners in the hands 
of the English, and in grievous peril of their lives. 

I felt I could not have danced with a halter 


round my neck, yet here was this small, delicate 
woman doing this, and doing it as if she did not 
see the dangers that threatened her. The body, 
indeed, was weak, but the heart — how big it was ! 

Thank God, I say, for the great hearts of women ! 

I tried to acquit myself also in the course of 
the entertainment to the best of my ability, but for 
the most part, being no skilled performer in the 
matter of corantos and other dances, was perforce 
compelled to spend much of the time leaning against 
the wall. Once, as the Governor was passing me 
by, he stopped and spoke. 

" Sir," said he, " I have to render you my grateful 
acknowledgments for the handsome gift you have 
sent me this day." 

" Sir Nicholas," replied I, " the gift was sent you 
by command of my mistress." 

The cruel, fierce eyes twinkled, and too late I 
perceived that my thoughtless words were making 
him suspect that some communication had passed 
between Grace O'Malley and myself in spite of his 
efforts and those of Sabina Lynch to prevent it. 
Thinking to undo the effect of my heedless speech, 
I made speed to continue. 

" I thought," said I, " that had my mistress been 
on her galley she would not have come to this revel 
in your honour with empty hands." 

" 'Tis well spoken, by St. George ! " said he. " Yet 
methinks there be few in Ireland that can afford to 
be so generous." 

The Governor's brow relaxed, then clouded over 



again, for, on reflecting on my speech, he saw there 
was that in it which suggested I was not unaware 
that my mistress had been debarred from going down 
to her ships. 

" You must reap rich harvests/' continued he, 
after a brief hesitation, " on the coast of Clew Bay, 
yet am I informed that nothing grows there but 

Howbeit the strains of music, rising and falling 
like a summer sea, were borne upon the air, and Sir 
Nicholas moved off to his own place. But his 
manner made me anxious that what we had planned 
might not long be postponed. 

The hours one by one went by, and the time 

I saw my mistress, laughter hi her eyes and on 
her lips, approach Sir Nicholas, and enter into a gay 
conversation with him. I moved up nearer to the 
top of the room. 

. " If you have never seen it, Sir Nicholas," I 
heard her saying, " sure am I you would like to 
see it," 

I listened in painful suspense for the answer of 
the Governor. Everything depended on it. "Who 
could resist Grace O'Malley, when she chose to be 
resistless ? " I asked myself. Then I remembered 
w r hat I had heard and seen of Sir Nicholas, and I 
replied to my beating heart that here was a man 
who might resist. But he had no suspicion what- 
ever, and he fell into the trap, baited so cunningly 
by a woman's wit, 


" I have seen it/' said he, " and if you will honour 
me by dancing it with me ? " 

"The honour, Sir Nicholas/' quoth she, saucily, 
" is mine." 

The matter did not fall out quite as we had 
hoped, for it had been part of our plan that I was 
forthwith to have danced one of our wild Irish 
measures, which are more a test of endurance than 
an exhibition of grace, with my mistress. 

It was soon spread through the assembly that 
the Governor and my mistress were to dance the 
dance of the country people, and on this proof of 
his affability towards us there were loud shouts of 
approval. Then there was a cry for the pipers, and, 
presently, just as we had schemed, in strode Pheiim 
of the White Lock, and Cormac, our men — striding 
along the hall, with their pipes blowing the quick 
step to a merry and rollicksome tune. 

Forward came Sir Nicholas and Grace O'Malley, 
while the people stood round about in a wide circle. 
But the Governor was no match for my mistress, and 
he soon began to hang out signals of distress, where- 
upon, greatly to his discomfiture, she wheeled about 
and beckoned to Sir Murrough O'Flahertjr, of Augha- 
nure, her bitter enemy, to take his place — displaying 
in this selection her wonderful craft; for how could 
anyone suppose — the Governor certainly least of all 
— that the O'Flaherty was chosen but to throve dust 
in his eyes ? 

My mistress danced with gliding, pit-patting feet 
that never tired, while the applause which greeted 



her every motion grew to a wild enthusiasm. Sir 
Murrough 'Flaherty had to acknowledge himself 
beaten, and retired. Grace O'Malley now cried aloud 
to me to come forward, and I stepped from the crowd, 
my heart beating faster than it had ever done in 
the day of battle. 

" Dance, dance, dance ! " cried she to me, and she 
whirled about like a mad thing. 

" Have ye no pity on the pipers ? " I exclaimed, 
with a laugh that rang out, it seemed to me, false 
and hollow, but I was determined to follow her lead 
as best I might. 

"The feet were never made," said she, as she 
advanced more slowly towards me and I took up my 
position opposite to her, and began the steps, " that 
can out-play a piper." 

The company smiled, grimaced, and murmured 
with delight at her answer, and the pipers, well 
pleased also, played as they never had played before. 
And the wild and furious dance went on to the wild 
and furious music of the pipes. Meanwhile I was 
watching my mistress with hungry, eager eyes, 
waiting for her to give the sign. 

" Pipe, pipe ! " she cried ; and again, " Pipe, pipe ! " 
and the playing of Phelim and Corinac was like 
the roaring of the storm among the trees of the 

So the dance went madly on until all the people- 
about us grew quite still and silent, looking on more 
breathlessly than we who were dancing to that mad 
music — looking at such a measure as they never had 


witnessed before in all their lives, or ever, I dare 
swear, saw the like of again. 
Then came the sign. 

Grace O'Malley 's uplifted hand slowly dropped to 
her side as with sheer weariness; the tall, queenly 
figure seemed to droop, to sway uncertainly, to totter, 
to fall upon the floor, but even as she fell I had 
gathered her up in these great arms of mine, and was 
carrying her through the press towards the chambers 
of the women. 

Eva O'Malley flew to my side, her face full of fear, 
as it appeared to be. The pipers' music suddenly 
ceased. But no more I saw or heard of what 
happened next in the room of the revel. 

No sooner had the door of the apartments of the 
women closed upon us three, than Grace O'Malley 
slipped from my arms and stood up, her faintness — 
which had been merely assumed — disappearing at 

"Quick, quick!" she cried, pointing to a door. 
" There is the stair ! That is the way ! " 

They stopped, however, for a little, to get a 
couple of heavy cloaks with which they hoped they 
might be able to conceal themselves somewhat from 
curious eyes. Short as the time was which this took, 
it was enough to permit Sabina Lynch to enter the 
apartment, and she at once perceived not only that 
my mistress had recovered in a marvellous brief 
space, but also what our project was. 

" Seize her," said Grace O'Malley, as she and Eva 
were leaving the room. 



I rushed towards the woman, and, clapping my 
hand to her mouth, prevented her from giving forth 
the scream she was on the point of uttering. As I 
was glancing about for something with which I might 
gag her, and so effectually silence her, my mistress 
again appeared, and said, her eyes blazing with 
anger : — 

" Bring her with you, if you can ; the way is 

" A gag ! " I said, and Grace O'Malley made with 
her own hands one, with which she stuffed Sabina 
Lynch's mouth, and next she bound the woman's arms. 
Then I took Sabina Lynch up, and in silence we 
descended the stair which led us into the street some 
twenty yards from the main entrance into the 
Mayor's house. 

It was now dark, but not sufficiently so as to hide 
us completely from observation, and an instant's 
thought convinced me that carrying a bound 
woman, as I was doing, it was impossible to go very 
far without being seen by someone who would in- 
stantly give the alarm. Therefore, still keeping in 
the shadow of the house, I sent forth into the night 
the O'Malley battle cry, knowing that our men could 
not be out of hearing ; and the sound had not died 
away when there arose a great noise and shouting. 

« O'Malley ! O'Malley ! O'Malley ! " was heard on all 

" To me, to me— here ! " I cried. 
And, in less time than seemed likely, there were 
gathered about us nearly all our men, but mixed with 


them several Burkes, O'Flahertys, and others of the 
Irish. Eecognising their mistress, the O'Malleys set 
up a joyful sound. Forming some of them in a line 
across the street, I begged Grace O'Malley and Eva to 
take with them the rest, and to hasten toward the 
gate, and this they accordingly did, while two of our 
people carried Sabina Lynch between them in the 
same direction. 

In the meantime the flight of my mistresses had 
been discovered. I saw lights flitting about the court- 
yard, and heard the words of command given in the 
strident tones of Sir Nicholas, then the tramp, tramp 
of the feet of the soldiers smote upon the night air. 

To have a conflict in the streets of Galway, just at 
the place where the English were strongest, was not 
to be thought of, as it was not more foolish than it 
was unnecessary, so I ordered my men to retreat as 
swiftly as was practicable towards the gate, and to 
endeavour to catch up to Grace O'Malley before the 
gate was reached by them. 

But when we came to the gate we found it had 
already been forced by our chieftainess, who had 
taken the feeble guard completely unprepared, and so 
had quietly made an end of them. It was all the 
work of a few seconds ; yet in the struggle, short as it 
was, Sabina Lynch had effected her escape. Without 
delay we proceeded to embark in the galleys, and to 
put out to sea. 

While we were engaged in this manner the great 
bell of the church of St. Nicholas suddenly boomed 
sharply through the night: soldiers began to appear 



on the battlements, torches flared from the walls, and 
bullets and arrows poured upon us as the galleys drew 
away from the quay. Some of the shots were aimed 
so well that two of our people, one of whom was 
Walter Burke, were slain and several others wounded. 

Then, as we proceeded on our way into the bay, 
the sputtering fire ceased. 




That night I reflected with joy that the die was cast, 
as, after our breaking out of Galway, there could be 
no peace between Grace O'Malley and Sir Nicholas 
— at any rate, until the matter was composed in some 
definite fashion. 

I trod the deck with a feeling of extraordinary 
buoyancy, and sniffed the salt air with delight as the 
galleys headed for Inishmore, the largest of the three 
isles of Arran, which have been thrown for a pro- 
tection by the hand of God, almost in a straight line, 
across the entrance to the bay of Galway. 

All that I cared for in the world was held in these 
ships, now speeding over the water under the leader- 
ship of Tibbot the Pilot. 

It was with deep satisfaction that I went over 
the events of the evening which had brought us with 
such success out of the town, and I looked forward 
with wide-eyed eagerness to the morning when I 
should meet my mistress, and hear her narrative of 
all that had passed when she and Eva were prisoners 
in the mansion of the Lynches. 

Eva, who had kept up so bravely while the clanger 
was greatest, had become faint and unstrung when 
the peril was past. Grace O'Malley would suffer no 




one but herself to tend her, and thus I had had no 
opportunity for conversing with either of them after 
we had made good our escape. 

When we had arrived at the island, and had let 
go our anchors in a fair depth of water in a small bay, 
which was sheltered from the full shock of the 
Atlantic by a range of abrupt craggy headlands, I 
went on board The Grey Wolf to see my mistresses, 
but Grace O'Malley received me alone, her foster- 
sister not having altogether recovered from the 
fatigue of the preceding evening. There was a new 
hardness, even a harshness, both in the face and 
voice of Grace. 

At first, however, she was in no mood for re- 
counting her experiences, and could do nothing but 
lament the fact that Sabina Lynch had managed to 
get away when the gate was forced. Indeed, her 
escape appeared entirely to overshadow in her mind 
her own escape and that of Eva. 

" Had it not been for her plottings and schem- 
ings," said she, " I should have brought the Governor 
round to my will. I had several interviews with Sir 
Nicholas, and at the beginning he was inclined to 
grant my suit, but soon I felt I was being thwarted 
by one more subtle than Sir Nicholas. How that 
woman hates me! I did not suspect her at once, 
for I had given her no cause of offence." 

"Did you find out," asked I, "why she hates 
you ? " 

" Tis from jealousy," said she. " Sabina Lynch 
would be Queen of Connaught, but she thinks that 



as long as I am free and powerful I am her 

" Is there no other reason ? " inquired I, remem- 
bering the words of Richard Burke. " Is there not 
between you two a cause more personal ? " 

" There may be," she replied thoughtfully ; " for 
clever as she is, she was not sufficiently so to con- 
ceal from me her predilection for the Mac William. 
But what is that to me ? Richard Burke is 
nothing to me." 

" You may be much to him, however," I answered, 
whereat she grew more thoughtful still. Being a 
woman, I said to myself, she could hardly have 
failed to read the signs of his regard for her. Then 
I told her of the midnight visit he had paid me, 
saying nothing, nevertheless, of what Richard Burke 
had confided to me in regard to his love for 

" He is a friend," said she, after musing for 
awhile, " and I may have need of many such." 

" Tell me what passed between you and Sir 

She paced the floor of the poop-cabin with quick, 
uneven steps ; then she stopped and spoke. 

" After our first meeting," said she, " he was much 
less open with me, asking me many questions, but 
giving no expression of his own views with respect 
to the ships. Two things, however, he impressed 
upon me. One was that he considered that I should 
make immediately a suitable marriage " 

" A suitable marriage ! " I exclaimed. 
g 2 



" The other was that it was common report that 
my father had left great riches behind him, and 
that, as he had never paid any tribute to the Queen, 
I must now make good his deficiencies in that 

" Tribute;' said I blankly. 

" He proposed to marry me — for he declared I was 
in reality a ward of the Crown, and, therefore, at his 
disposal — to Sir Murrough O'Flaherty, a man old 
enough to be my father — and our enemy. I would 
have none of it. I fancy I have to thank Sabina 
Lynch for suggesting it to Sir Nicholas, and I replied 
to him, with indignation, that I was a free woman, 
and would give my hand where I pleased. It was 
then that I discovered that I was no longer at liberty, 
for it was told me that I must on no account leave 
the Lynches' house without the permission of the 
Governor, but that no harm would come to me if I 
.consented to his terms. I spoke of the safe conduct 
which Sir Nicholas had given me, but that was of no 
avail ; and ' reasons of State/ said he, overruled any 
safe conduct." 

" This is how they keep faith ! " I cried, bitterly. 

" It was no time for railing," continued Grace 
O'Malley, a as I was in the Governor's hands, and 
could see no way of getting out of them. Therefore 
I made as though I were about to submit myself, 
and I desired to see the Governor again with respect 
to the tribute to be paid to the Queen. My request 
being granted, Sir Nicholas acquainted me with his 
determination, demanding a thousand cows and two 



hundred mares, or their equivalent in gold and silver, 
by way of payment of the arrears, and two hundred 
cows each year for the future." 

"To all of which you said No!" cried I. 

"Nay, Ruari," replied she, "I had to match my 
wits against his power over me — was not I his 
prisoner ? — and so I returned him no immediate 
answer, but, on the contrary, besought that I might 
have a week to deliberate in, bemoaning my hard 
fate, and protesting that I should never be able to 
comply with his demands, yet that I would do 
what was within my ability to compass." 

"And then?" I said. 

" He pondered long and deeply, hesitating and 
doubtful; so, knowing the covetous nature of the 
man," said she, "I took the cross I was wearing 
from my neck, and, giving it to him, begged that 
he would grant me the delay I sought." 

" Your jewelled cross ? " I said. 

" My case was an evil one," replied she, " and I 
did it not without pain, for the cross had been my 
mother's, and was, besides, of great value." 

"He consented?" 

"He became very gracious because of the bribe," 
replied she, "and then asked me to be present at 
the revel. ' Why/ said he, e should you not take 
part in it, if you would care so to do ? ' As I was 
resolved to humour him, I was complaisant, and 
replied that nothing would be more agreeable to 
me; but even as I uttered these words, some ink- 
ling of the plan for our deliverance which we 



carried out was forming itself in my mind. My 
woman afterwards managed to leave the Lynches' 
unobserved with the letter I wrote you, and gave 
it to the captain of the Scottish ship Ave passed on 
our way to Galway. My only fear was that he 
might inform the Governor, and so our plans 
would have been frustrated ; but he has proved 
himself a true man, and one who may be trusted." 

* There is no confidence to be put in Sir 
Nicholas," said I. 

"The man is hard, stark, relentless/' said she, 
hotly, "but he shall find I am as hard, stark, and 
relentless as he is himself. Vengeance — vengeance, 
and that speedy, will I take ! n 

Never had I seen Grace O'Malley so carried 
away by passion as now. Her eyes were blazing 
tires; the line made by her lips was like the edge 
of a sword, so clear and sharp it was ; the cheeks 
lost their colour and roundness, and, as she rest- 
lessly moved about, her black hair flew round her 
head like a coronal of quivering water-snakes. 

" Vengeance — vengeance ! " she cried. 

Her vehemence bore me along as upon a fast- 
flowing tide. 

" Vengeance — vengeance ! " I shouted, so that 
my voice rang out far beyond the galley. 

" It is in our own hands," she said, more com- 
posedly. " The wine fleet from Spain is expected 
in Galway to-day or to-morrow — at any moment 
we may see their sails on the southern edge of the 
sea. Then, then," cried she furiously, her anger 



rising again like the sudden, fierce blast of the 
tempest, " shall I teach Gal way and Sir Nicholas 
to fear and dread my name." 

The wine fleet ! This was a quarry, indeed ! 

For each year at this season there set out from 
Cadiz for Limerick and Galway a goodly fleet of 
galleons, each of which carried a burden more to be 
desired than a king's ransom. These ships were 
laden with many barrels of the wines both of 
France and Spain, with rolls of silks, with bales 
of fine leather, with suits of raiment and shirts 
of mail, and blades of Toledo, and with other 
articles of price, the products of Europe, and, even, 
to some extent, of the mysterious Orient, where 
Turk and infidel held their sway. These were ex- 
changed against the fish — for which our island was 
famous — the hides, salt, meat, wheat, and barley of 
the country. 

Grace O'Malley's vengeance on Galway was to 
attack, capture, or destroy that portion of the wine 
fleet, as it was commonly spoken of, the destination 
of which was that town. The boldness and daring 
of the project took my breath away; but I could 
conceive of nothing that was so likely to cause 
consternation and terror as its successful issue to 
the great merchants of the city, and to mortify 
and enrage the Governor. 

It was a great enterprise — this attack — and one 
which, if the event went against us, would probably 
be the end of us all. But there was one thing 
that gave us an advantage, which, skilfully used, 



could not fail to be of such importance as to be 
almost in itself decisive. This was that the wine 
fleet had arrived safely at Galway year after year, 
without falling in with any danger other than that 
which came from the ordinary risks of the sea. 
Hence the immunity they had so long enjoyed 
would breed in them a feeling of complete security, 
and dispose them to be careless of precautions. 

Still I was staggered; and what was passing 
through my mind being seen in my face, Grace 
O'Malley inquired, a trifle disdainfully : 

" Think ye, Ruari, the venture too much for 
me ? " — and the accent fell on the last word of the 
sentence. "I tell you, Nay!" 

" Nothing — nothing," exclaimed I, wildly, " is too 
high for you ! As for me, it is yours to command 
— mine to obey." 

Then we took counsel together, first having 
.summoned Tibbot the Pilot, and the other chiefs 
and officers who were in the galleys. When Grace 
O'Malley had made her purpose known there was 
at first the silence of stupefaction, then there fol- 
lowed the rapid, incoherent, impulsive exclamations 
of fierce and savage glee. 

While we were occupied in this manner, a 
fishing smack had come into the bay, and on it 
were the pipers Phelim and Cormac and some 
others of our men, whom we had been forced to 
leave behind, but who had made their way out of 
Galway, being secretly helped therein by the fisher- 
folk who dwelt in a village by themselves without 



the gates. These brought word that the city was 
in a state of great alarm, and that the Governor 
had declared that he would not rest until he had 
sent out an expedition to raze Grace O'Malley's 
castles to the ground, to destroy her galleys, and 
to blot out her name from Ireland. 

Nothing had been needed to add to our deter- 
mination, but, if need there had been, here it was. 
We were now all proclaimed rebels and traitors, 
so that we could look for nothing but torture and 
death at the hands of the English. A price would 
soon be placed upon our heads, and whoever 
wrought us a mischief or an injury of any kind 
would be considered as doing the Queen a service. 

Such was our situation. To most of our people 
the Queen of England was no more than an empty 
name, and even to those of us who appreciated the 
might and resources of that princess, it appeared 
better that we should be aware of who were our 
foes and who were our friends, and if her repre- 
sentative, Sir Nicholas Malby, were our open 
enemy, as we were now well assured he was, we 
knew with whom our quarrel lay, and what we 
might expect from him. 

When all was said, the Governor had no over- 
whelming force at his disposal, and he was without 
ships, so that we felt no whit downcast with our 
lot; contrariwise, there was such gladness amongst 
us at the promise of the fighting with which our cir- 
cumstances were pregnant that the hearts of any who 
doubted were uplifted and made firm and steadfast. 



As we were discussing our affairs Eva O'Malley 
entered the cabin. As our eyes met she smiled 
upon me, and held out her hand in greeting. 

"'Twas well done," said she, referring to our 
escape from Galway, her thoughts still dwelling on 
the adventures of the past night. But when she 
heard of what we had been speaking, and of the 
proposed attack on the wine fleet, her sweet face 
became pale and troubled. 

"Darkness and blood," said she, turning to me. 
" Oh ! Ruari, the words of the Wise Man are to be 

"What must be, must be," said I, "and there 
is none can gainsay that." 
She shook her head. 

" Eva," said Grace O'Malley, " the end is as it 
is appointed from the beginning." Then she began 
to reason gently with her foster-sister, and to show 
her that if the English found they had good 
reason to fear her they would gladly consent before 
long to make peace, and to concede what she had 
asked of Sir Nicholas. 

But it was easy to see that my dear was sad 
and heavy of heart. Grace, ever most tender to 
her, put her arms about her, and made her sit 
beside her on a couch, and said many loving 
words, so that Eva was comforted, albeit some of 
her brightness vanished from that day, never to 
return. Although she had already shown how 
brave she was, and was to exhibit a courage far 
greater than my own or that of any man I ever 



knew — her courage being that born of the spirit 
and ours but of the body — she sure was never 
made for that hard life of ours. 

Gentle and sweet was she, yet the strain of 
the O'Malley blood ran in her veins, and made 
itself felt whenever the trials of her strength came. 

Leaving the two ladies together, each went to 
his place in the ships. Some of my men, who 
had been ashore, now returned and informed me 
that they had learned that it was the annual 
custom to light a great fire on the headland of 
Arran, on which stand the ruins of the ancient 
castle called Dun Aengus, as soon as the vessels 
of the wine fleet hove into sight. 

The smoke of this fire, if it were day, or the 
flame of it, if it were night, was a signal to the 
merchants of Galway, who, as soon as they saw 
it, made preparations for the reception of the ships 
— this being the chief event each year in the life 
of the town. To the end that the office of this 
beacon should be better fulfilled, they had placed 
a small body of soldiers and others in huts that 
stood between the crumbling walls of the old fort. 

I debated with myself whether it would not 
be more prudent to have the lighting or the not 
lighting of the fire in my own power, but, being 
in no little doubt, put the matter off until later 
in the day. By the middle of the afternoon, how- 
ever, there were abundant evidences that the weather, 
which had for days past been fine, was about to 
change; and as the sun fell, dark clouds were 



gathering sullenly in the sky, the wind from the south- 
west was blowing stormily across the island — though 
our galleys felt it not at all, being under the lee 
of the land — and already we could hear the thunder 
of the waves as they rushed upon the further coast. 
And all the night through a tempest of terrible 
violence raged. 

When the morning came, the fury of the gale 
rather increased than diminished, and so that day 
and the next, when the winds and v^aves began 
to subside, we remained at anchor in our harbour, 
safe from the storm. On the night of the third 
day the wind died down to a breeze, and the 
moon struggled fitfully through the scud and drift 
of the clouds. 

Uncertain as to how the storm might shift, 
the galleys had been kept ready to put out from 
the shore at any moment, and therefore it fell 
.out that nothing had been done by us with regard 
to the Galway men at Dun Aengus. In the middle 
watch, it being very dark save when the moon 
shone out, to be hidden again as fast as it ap- 
peared, we saw a bright tongue of flame shoot up, 
flashing and shining brightly against the blackness 
of the sky. Quickly raising our anchors, we made 
off past the island of Inishmaan, and on by Inisheer 
until we ran close in by the point of Trawkeera. 

I wondered how it was that on such a night 
the watchman at Dun Aengus had made out the 
corning of the fleet, but discovered as Ave went 
upon our course, that another beacon had been 



lit far down the southern coast, and as soon as 
they had seen it they had set a torch to their 
own. Thus were we also apprised of the coming 
of the wine fleet, and that by the hands of the 
people of Galway themselves, as it were. As the 
day began to dawn, greyly and drearily, a large, 
unwieldy Spanish galleon entered the South Sound, 
about half a league outside of Trawkeera. Not 
more than half her sails were set, and she rolled 
heavily from side to side in the swell left by the 
storm. A few sleepy sailors stood in the waist 
of the ship, and no armed watch was to be seen. 

It had been arranged between Grace O'Malley 
and myself that I was to attack the first vessel 
that came in sight, and in the still, spectral light, 
we stole silently out from the shadow of Inisheer, 
the one great mainsail of The Cross of Blood being 
set, and the oars shipped until the word was 




As we crept on towards the unsuspecting merchant 
ship, I noticed that she presented a battered appear- 
ance, as if she had felt the full fury of the storm 
which we had ridden out so safely, and that she 
had not come out of it without much damage. 

The foremast had b^en broken off, and now a 
great spar lashed to the stump had taken its place. 
About the middle of the vessel the bulwark showed 
a breach some five feet in length, and a piece of 
rough sailcloth had been fastened carelessly over it, 
so that the ragged edges of the broken wood were 
plainly seen jutting out from under it. 

Doubtless the sailors were worn out with the 
stress of the working of their ship through the 
tempest, and this also accounted for the slackness 
of the watch and the ghostly quietness on board. 

Otherwise, she was a splendid ship, the like of 
which was seen at no other time in these seas, save 
only when the wine fleet came each year to Galway. 
She was built with high castles both at the stern 
and at the bows ; and she was, perhaps, of two 
hundred tons' burthen, according to the measure of 
the English. 

Her name, cut out of solid wood and painted a 


deep blue, was the Capitana. She flew the flag of 
Philip of Spain, and along with it at the stern 
were to be seen the ensigns of some gentlemen 
adventurers, who were in her, and who probably- 
commanded her fighting men, or who had accom- 
panied the expedition merely for the sake of 
seeing another part of the world. 

For the galleon's defence against the rovers of 
of the sea, who were to be found in great numbers 
off the French and English coasts, she showed her 
teeth in the guise of the black muzzles of twelve 
cannon, all formidable ordnance, and, armed with 
this equipment, as compared with that of The Gross 
of Blood, looked as if she might devour us at her 
leisure and with the utmost ease. 

But it was not my purpose that these guns 
should ever be pointed at us, and so high were 
they out of the water — far above us, in fact — that 
there was no such terrible danger to be apprehended 
on this score. Besides, we were now too near her, 
and she was, in any case, unprepared. 

When we had approached within four hundred 
yards of the Capitana, I gave orders that the sail 
of The Gross of Blood should be lowered to the deck 
quickly, and yet as quietly as might be, and that the 
rowers should get them to their oars, and speed us 
with all their might towards the Spanish ship. 

So well was this effected that we were but, as it 
seemed, a stone's throw from her, and the beak of 
the galley, as she rose to the swell, pointed straight 
for the breach made by the storm in the waist of the 



galleon, when the watch on board of her had their 
suspicions all too tardily aroused. If they had heard 
the noise made by the running of the tackle when 
the sail was got down, they had not grasped its 
meaning ; but they could hardly fail to guess readily 
enough what our appearance indicated as we dashed 
towards them, our deck showing an array of arque- 
busiers and spearmen, standing to their weapons. 

The men of the Capitana began to rush to and 
fro, and suddenly the clear notes of a trumpet blared 
forth from her poop — the all-too-late summons to 
arms. Her helmsmen, now alert to the danger which 
menaced them, endeavoured to swing her round on 
her heel into the wind, so as to keep us off. 

We had stopped rowing, and our men were resting 
with their hands on the heads and handles of their 
oars, waiting for the order to ship them, when, as 
the Spaniard went about, her side caught the oars 
on the right side of the galley, and I heard the sharp 
cracking and splintering of the wood of which they 
were made as they were broken in pieces, and the 
piercing cries, most lamentable to the ear, of the 
rowers as they were knocked from their benches 
and jammed together, a huddled, mangled mass 
of shrieking and cursing, of wounded and dying 

Amid the din and outcry which attended this 
disaster to us, there arose the voice of Calvagh 
O'Halloran, the master of the rowers, encouraging, 
directing, and calming the others. What had be- 
fallen us was a serious matter, as it deprived us of 


any hope of getting away from the Gapitana if our 
attack should prove unsuccessful. 

I ran along the deck, telling our people to be of 
good heart, as all would yet be well ; and, as nothing 
so inspired them as the war-cry of their tribe and 
the lust of fighting, I shouted loud and clear — 

"O'Malley! O'Malley! O'Malley!" 

The swinging of the Spaniard fended the galley 
off from her, so that there was a clear space for the 
breadth of a couple of oars, or a little more. As 
Calvagh got the rowers at work again, and The Gross 
of Blood went forward, the sides of the two ships 
grated together with a shock. They ground apart 
once again, and the water swished and swirled 
between them, foaming white and flecked with red 
as the blood of the rowers who had been injured 
dripped from the galley. 

" On board, on board ! " I cried. " A ring of gold 
to him who first boards her ! " and I threw my battle- 
axe among her sailors. " Follow that ! " I said. 

The Irish were howling about me like hungry 
wolves, and The Gross of Blood shivered and trembled 
like a living thing as the rowers, Calvagh at their 
head, rushed from the benches, eager to revenge 
themselves for the death of their comrades of the 
oar, yelling hoarsely — 

" O'Malley ! O'Malley ! O'Malley ! "—the words 
stinging the ear like blows. 

Now the sides of the vessels strained and groaned 
as again they smote together. The grappling-irons 
were fastened as they touched each other, and, 




regardless of the thrusts made at us, we together 
clambered up the Capitanas side, entering by the 
breach over which the sailcloth had been stretched, 
and were immediately engaged in a hot and bloody 
fight, the issue of which stood in no kind of doubt 
from its commencement, as we far outnumbered the 
sailors in this part of the Spaniard. 

One burly fellow came at me with a pike, but 
so uncertainly that I caught it from him with my 
left hand, and ran him through with the sword in 
my right. He dropped without a sound at my feet. 

But while this contest was going on, and we were 
sweeping all before us, we soon were made to feel 
that, while so far successful, we were yet in a position 
of the greatest peril; for we were now assailed by 
shots from arquebuses fired down upon us both from 
the castle at the bows and that at the poop as well, 
and the air hummed with the arrows of our foes. 

As there was no cover or protection of any kind 
where we stood, divers of our men fell sorely 
wounded, and some were slain outright. What the 
event was to bring forth then seemed nothing but 
our destruction, for we were caught, as it were, in 
a trap, and that one of our own making. 

The doors leading into the castles were both 
shut, and, I conjectured, barricaded by this time 
against us. However, to remain where we were 
was to be slaughtered like cattle, and the attempt 
had to be made to force these entrances. The 
principal array of the enemy was in the poop castle, 
and I instantly decided that it must be stormed, 


else we should all perish miserably, and to break 
in the door was the readiest way. 

Calling on the Irish to follow me, I strode across 
the slippery deck, a bullet narrowly missing me, to 
the arched doorway through which lay the way to 
the castle on the poop. 

Whether it was that our assault had been so little 
looked for, or that what had already taken place had 
occupied so brief a breath, as one may say — for 
who can take count of time in the heat of battle ? 
— I know not; but this entrance had not been 
strongly secured, for hurling myself impetuously 
with all my force against the barrier I burst the 
door open, and that so violently and quickly that 
I had much ado to keep myself from stumbling, 
and so being trampled upon and killed by my own 
men. Recovering myself with an effort, I found 
myself in a wide chamber, in which there were 
tables and chests and other furniture, but not a 
single soul was to be seen. 

At one end of it was a flight of steps leading 
up to the deck of the castle. Stopping my men, 
I bade them wait in this sheltered room while I 
ascended the steps, and reached another large cabin, 
also deserted as far as I could see, while above 
me I heard the trampling of many feet. Summon- 
ing my followers, I dashed up a second flight of 
steps, the Irish, who gave tongue like bloodhounds 
tracking deer, pushing in and swarming up behind 

I was like enough to have paid for my rashness 
h 2 



with my life, for as I emerged upon the deck of 
the poop, the point of a sword flashed off my body- 
armour, and I received so shrewd a buffet upon 
my shoulder from a mace or battle-axe of some 
kind, that I nearly lost my footing, and, as it was, 
would have done so but for the press of men be- 
hind me. 

As I appeared a crowd of Spaniards rushed upon 
me from all sides, praying to Our Lady and all 
the saints for their aid, and above all naming 
" Santiago." 

Now sweeping my sword in a great shining 
circle round my head, now stabbing and hacking 
and cleaving, while my strength seemed to grow 
with my necessity, I held them at bay, albeit in 
what way I escaped the deadly thrusts of spears 
and pikes, and the bullets aimed at me at such 
close quarters, I cannot tell. 

Two or three slight wounds did I receive, and 
the sight of my own blood drove me into a per- 
fect fury of killing, and rendered me regardless of 
myself; but as for the wounds themselves I heeded 
them not, and indeed in the fiery heat of that 
encounter scarce felt them at all. Soon, however, 
would I have been overborne and destroyed, if I 
had not been joined by Calvagh and the others, 
who charged upon the enemy with inconceivable 

Nothing could have stood before the tremendous 
outpouring of such incredible rage. 

The gallant men of Spain fought on, and met 


us bravely, brave with something more than the 
courage which is born of dark despair. For, to 
say the truth, never yet saw I any of that nation 
— even of its commonalty — that might be called a 

It is my belief, and good reason have I for it, 
that no more doughty men ever wielded sword or 
pike than those of Spain, nor were there any better 
sailors in those days in all the w^orld. There be 
many, who, having regard to what she was — this 
great power of Spain — and considering what has 
happened to her, and how she is now shorn in no 
small degree of her glory, can account for it in 
no other way than by saying that she lieth under 
the Wrath of God. Howbeit, this is too high a 
matter for me. Only know I full well that the 
crew of the Capitana, whether fighting men or 
sailors, made such a stern and grim battle against 
us that grey morning in the Bay of Galway, as 
the most valiant knights could not have bettered. 

Near the centre of the poop there rose up a 
mast, and around this our enemies gathered in a 
cluster, among them being some half-armed men 
whom I took to be the adventurers whose ensigns 
floated beside the standard of the galleon, and who 
carried themselves with an air. 

They had had no time to have their armour put 
upon them and fastened with proper care, but as 
they proved themselves to be accomplished swords- 
men they made a determined resistance to us. If 
they had come at me when I appeared at the top 



of the steps, I should never have reached the deck 
of the poop alive ; they had, however, tarried too 
long in the attempt to be clothed with their harness. 

They were surrounded, and, though I offered 
them their lives, declaring that they would be held 
for ransom and would be well treated by Grace 
O'Malley, they would not listen to me, preferring 
rather to die, fighting, so long as the breath was 
in them, like the valiant men of Spain they were. 

One only, who appeared to be the captain of the 
ship, I commanded to be taken alive — a business 
which was done with difficulty, so madly did he 
struggle, notwithstanding that the blood flowed in 
streams from several of his wounds. 

" Yield yourself" said I, " Senor Captain, for the 
ship is ours, and further fighting is useless. Give 
me your parole." 

But he refused, snarling and showing his teeth 
like a mad dog. Then I ordered him to be bound, 
and laid on the deck for the present. 

The greater part of the galleon was now in our 
hands, but there still remained a band of Spaniards 
in the forecastle, who galled us with the fire from 
their pieces and the arrows of their bows. When 
they saw how their comrades had been overcome 
on the poop castle, they cut down the spar which 
had been lashed to the broken foremast, and using 
it and the sailcloth about it as a kind of barri- 
cade went on firing at us from behind this shelter. 

Telling Calvagh, who had come out of the fight 
without a scratch, to take what men he thought 



needful, I directed him to attack the forecastle, and 
at the same time protected his assault of it by 
a discharge from the poop of a small cannon I 
found there loaded. This position of the Spaniards, 
however, was one of such strength that they in- 
flicted heavy loss upon us before they were all put 
to the sword. 

We were now masters of the entire vessel, but 
its capture had cost us dear. Fifteen of the Irish 
were killed, and as many more wounded, several of 
them seriously; and when the sun rose across the 
dim outline of the hills away beyond Galway its 
rays fell upon decks that ran dark with blood, and 
upon a wearied band of men, whose gasping breath 
came and went in sobs of pain, now that the excite- 
ment was past, and who threw themselves down in 
sheer exhaustion. I myself was sore spent, but the 
day was only begun, and the rest of the wine fleet 
might come into view at any moment. Therefore 
I bade my men rise up as soon as they had rested 
somewhat, and then endeavoured to put the Gapitana 
into sailing trim. 

While this was being done I shaped our course 
for Inisheer, remaining on the Gapitana myself with 
some of my crew, and sending Calvagh to take charge 
of The Gross of Blood. I also had the captain of the 
galleon brought before me, to see if I could get any 
information from him about the other ships of the 

" Senor Captain," said I, " the chance of war has 
delivered you and your ship to me. Ye fought well. 



and I am grieved that so many valiant souls no 
longer see the light ; yet would I have spared them, 
as many as I could, but they would not. You are 
in no danger of your life, if you will but answer the 
questions I ask of you." 

I spoke in English, my knowledge of Spanish 
being slight, but I judged that the captain of a 
ship trading to Ireland, and particularly to the 
English city of Galway, would be certain to under- 
stand the English tongue. At first it appeared, 
however, as if he did not comprehend my words. 

" Kill me, kill me ! " he exclaimed in Spanish, 
while his face was distorted with impotent rage. 

Replying to him mildly that I had no intention 
of putting him to death, I informed him that I had 
no sufficient acquaintance with his own language, 
and therefore I was unable to converse with him 
in it. 

" You surely understand English/' said I. 

One of the Irish who was on guard over him 
thrust a dagger into him for an inch or more before 
I knew what he would be about, whereupon the 
Spaniard cursed him and us and himself and his 
ship and the day he was born in as good English 
as ever I heard. 

"I shall tell you nothing," said he. "No, by 
St. Jago, nothing, nothing, nothing ! " 

I felt a pity for the man, and told one of those 
standing near me to fetch him some wine, and 
that as speedily as might be, and again asked 
him if he were resolved to die; but he merely 


glared at me like a wild animal, and I left him 
alone, reserving him to be questioned by Grace 

When the wine was brought he drank it thirstily, 
saying, " If it is poisoned, so much the better." 

And now we drew near again to Inisheer. Round- 
ing the Point of Trawkeera, we dropped anchor 
beside the two other galleys, and my mistress came 
on board of our prize. When I told her of the 
great fight the Spaniards had made, and what it had 
cost us to take the ship, she sighed and became 

" We can ill afford so many men/' she said, " but 
the other ships of the wine fleet may be captured or 
destroyed more easily. Bring the captain of the 
galleon to me, and let me see if I can learn anything 
from him of his companions." 

" He will say nothing,^ I exclaimed. 

Grace O'Malley's face grew dark, but she merely 
repeated her command. When the Spanish captain 
was fetched in, he was struck with amazement when 
he beheld a woman, young, handsome, and, as some 
thought, beautiful, who appeared to be the chief 
and leader of us all. At first he gazed at her as 
one who sees an apparition or a phantom. 

" Madre de Dios ! Madre de Dios ! " he said aloud 
in his astonishment, and for some time acted as 
one might who suspected that his sense of sight 
was playing him a trick. He was faint and pale 
from loss of blood, and presented a piteous appear- 



" Free him from his bonds/' said Grace O'Malley, 
and I cut away the thongs that held him. 

" Senor Captain," continued she when] this had 
been done, "I have a quarrel with the Governor 
of Connaught and the people of Galway, who have 
treated me despitefully, — therefore has your galleon 
been taken." 

" You, Senorita ! " he said. 

" I was beguiled with fair words and promises," 
said she, " and then they made me a prisoner, but 
I escaped from them. War have I declared against 
them, and a great revenge shall I take. You, I hear, 
are a brave man, and I have need of such in this 
contest with the English. Will you join me ? " 

" That will I not," said he ; and I heard him 
muttering to himself, " She is a devil." 

" Better consider before you speak," said I, seizing 
his arm roughly. 

" Let me be, let me be," said he, " for I am a 
dying man ! " And he swooned upon the deck. 
Keviving in a few minutes, he staggered to his feet, 
whereupon I put my arm round him for his support. 

" Where are the other ships of the fleet, tell me," 
said Grace O'Malley, " and how many are there ? " 

" You can kill me," said he, " and I shall thank 
you for it, but that which I know I shall never 
tell you." 

And again I heard him muttering, " Devil, devil ! " 
and calling upon " Santiago " to protect him from her 

Grace O'Malley gazed at him, and of a sudden 


there was in her eyes — what I never looked to see 
in them on such an occasion — a dew of tears spring- 
ing from an unsuspected fount of pity. After all, 
she was a woman, as I have said. 

" You are a brave man and a true," said she, " and 
I will not plague you more. Let him die in peace," 
cried she to me, " if die he must." 

As I was about to place him with his back against 
a mast so as to ease him, he made a snatch at the 
dagger which was in my belt ; his fingers closed over 
it, but even as he grasped it his lips parted and his 
spirit fled. 

" God rest thee, thou gallant mariner of Spain ! " 
said Grace O'Malloy, when she saw that the captain 
of the galleon was dead. 

" Amen," cried I, for the firmness of the man had 
seemed to me a very noble thing. 




The day had worn on to noon but without its 
brightness, for the sky had again become full of 
heavy clouds driven up from the west ; the wind 
moaned and raved over land and sea, and the waves 
beat drearily upon the shore. The thunder rolled 
and the lightning flashcd^while the pelting rain came 
down in huge drops that sounded on our decks like 
hail or the cracking of whips. 

The ensanguined waters flowed in floods from the 
planking and the sides of the captured galleon, 
which lay like some great wounded monster of the 
deep, sweating blood. Closer into the land we 
steered, and so saved ourselves from the worst of 
the gale. 

For the present all thoughts of searching for the 
other vessels of the fleet had to be given up, and 
fain was I to rest, for my wounds, though slight, were 
sore, and the dull aching of my shoulder was hard 
to bear. Seeing my state, Grace O'Malley bade me 
go to her own galley, where Eva would attend to 
my wounds with her gentle lingers, and then, 
perhaps, sing me to sleep with one of the songs of 
her people. 

This command went so well with every beating 



of my heart that my pains were all but forgotten, 
and when I reached The Grey Wolf, Eva met me, 
and waited upon me, and made so much of the 
" Mountain of a Man," as she often called me, that 
the only pangs I felt were those caused by my love 
for her — so much so that the tale of it was trembling 
on my lips, though I could not for the life of me 
put it into words, but dumbly looked, and longing — 
looked again and again at her. 

Fool that I was, dolt that I was, not to have 
spoken then! But my tongue was tied, as with a 
ribbon of steel, and if one were to ask me why this 
was, I could not tell, nor can I now, looking back 
across the blunt edge of years. Yet here was such 
an opportunity, if I could have grasped it, but it 

Eva sang softly to me as I lay with my harness 
off on a couch, until I fell a-sleeping and a-dreaming, 
and all through the sleeping and the dreaming did 
I hear the sound of her singing, far off, indistinctly, 
and murmurous, like that of the brooks among the 
silent hills. 

When I awoke, it was evening, and both she and 
Grace O'Malley were seated by my side. The storm 
had abated, and already a weak, watery moon was 
riding in the heavens, and, as I opened my eyes, its 
faint beams fell whitely upon the faces of my mis- 
tresses, so that to me, being still only half awake, 
they looked like spirits. I rose to a sitting pos- 
ture, and felt that my strength had come back 
to me. 



" Has your weariness left you ? " asked Grace 
O'Malley, smiling kindly at me. 

For answer I stretched my limbs and my body, 
and smiled at her without speaking, though the pain 
in my shoulder still troubled me, and I could not 
move without feeling it. 

" While you have slept, Ruari," she went on, " I 
have gone over as much of the galleon as might be 
in the hours of daylight at my disposal, and the 
riches in her are truly wonderful. Never saw I so 
great a store of all manner of things of value in a 
ship before. Tis a splendid spoil, and the merchants 
of Galway will have good cause to remember me, 
and Sir Nicholas will be beside himself with rage." 

" We have not yet finished with them or with 
Sir Nicholas," said I. "The Gapitana is not the 
only ship of the wine fleet." 

" Neither has Sir Nicholas done with us, I fear," 
said Eva, sadly, " nor the people of Galway." 

" Sometimes it seems to me, Eva," said Grace to 
her foster-sister, " as if you were only half an 
O'Malley." Then she turned to me again. " Ruari, 
I have more to tell about the galleon. On board of 
her there is a chest of gold — all money of Spain, 
coined pieces, bearing the effigy of the late Emperor, 
Charles. Now, hearken ! A strange, wild story goes 
with this chest of gold, and there is that in it which 
may concern us very closely." 

"Yes," I said, my interest being keenly stirred 
as I guessed from the slow and almost solemn way 
in which she addressed me, that she had stumbled 



probably on some mystery of the sea — something, 
at any rate, unexpected and out of the way, and yet 
something that might touch us nearly. "Yes," I 
said, watching her intently, "it is naught of evil 
import for us, surely ? " 

" That I know not as yet," she replied. " Rather 
does it portend a benefit ; time alone can tell. This 
is how we came to find the gold, and we might never 
have gotten it of ourselves — we were told of it." 

" How was that ? " 

" While our search through the galleon was being 
made, two men, bound in fetters and chained to- 
gether, were discovered in a small, dark den, low 
down in the ship ; a hole, indeed, so cunningly con- 
cealed from observation that even the very sailors 
on board the Gapitana might not have known of 
its existence, if its being hidden from them were 
deemed necessary or expedient. The men were 
half-starved, and so utterly wretched that when they 
were brought into the light they were as the blind, 
and gibbered like idiots. What they say, now that 
they have come to themselves, is pitiful enough, and 
I believe they are telling the truth." 

" Who are they ? " asked I, as she meditated on 
their story. "What account do they give of them- 
selves ? You have said nothing about the chest of 

" One of them," said she " tells me that he is a 
Geraldine, a near relative of Garrett, Earl of 

" An Irishman ! " I broke in. 



" Yes, so he says, and I doubt it not," said she. 
" The other is a Spaniard, Don Francisco de Vilela 
by name, a man of rank, if one may judge of him 
from his speech and carriage. But you will see them 
yourself shortly." 

" What is their explanation of their being prisoners 
on board of the galleon ? Is it concerned with the 
chest of gold ? " 

" Yes, so they say," she replied ; " and they relate 
that before the Gapitana left Spain they made a 
bargain with its captain to convey them to Ireland 
for a certain sum of money, which they paid over 
to him before he put out from port. Their compact 
with him was that they were to be landed at some 
lonely point or secluded place on our western coasts, 
and not at any town, such as Limerick or Galway." 

"Why was that?" I asked. "Doubtless the 
captain of the galleon made a similar inquiry of 

" They say he asked them no questions whatever," 
replied she ; " but he must have understood that they 
had some business of a very private nature, probably 
concerned with State affairs. Evidently that business 
lay with the native Irish, and not with the English, 
from whom they wished their movements to be kept 
secret, else would there have been no need to have 
avoided any of the English towns in Ireland." 

" It may be," said I, for I could not help seeing 
the drift of her words, " that they are the bearers of 
some message from the King of Spain to the Earl of 
Desmond, or some other chief of the Irish." 



"You do not fall very short of the mark" said 

" But," asked I, " how came it about, or what 
happened to cause them to be thrust into chains, and 
that on board a Spanish ship ? Those who brought a 
message from the Spanish King would surely have 
been well-treated, and even honoured, by the captain 
of a ship coming out of Spain. Plainly, there is 
something here which fits not in with their narra- 

" They say that it was because of the chest of 
gold," she replied. " The captain is dead, so that we 
shall never hear his version of the affair, but they 
affirm he could not withstand the temptation of the 
gold. Brave, as we know he was, and an excellent 
sailor, as they say he was reputed to be, yet would he 
have sold his very soul for gold." 

" How did he know of it ? " 

" So heavy a chest could hardly have been 
brought on board without his knowledge, and to 
conjecture what it contained was no such difficult 
matter. They did not conceal from him their anxiety 
for its safe-keeping, and one or other of them was 
always on guard over it. Anyone would have known, 
therefore, that it held a treasure of some kind. All 
went well until they reached the coast of Kerry, 
when, reminding the captain of their agreement with 
him, they requested him to send them, the chest, and 
the rest of their belongings ashore in a boat. The 
sea was very rough, however, and he assured them 
the thing was impossible. 



* That might well have been the case," said I. 

" They therefore confided to him — what he most 
likely knew already — that they had come over on a 
secret embassy from the King of Spain, and besought 
him, by his fidelity to his King, to put them ashore. 
He protested that their landing at the time would be 
attended with difficulty, and even danger, and again 
refused their request. 

" They expostulated with him, but in vain ; he was 
not to be moved, having already, they say, deter- 
mined that they should never deliver their message. 
Next they offered him a large sum of monej^, and, 
when he asked where they were to get it from, told 
him of the gold, but without informing him of the 
amount they had in the chest. Still, he would not 
give way, and, at length, on their continuing to urge 
him, he became sullen, angry and abusive, hurling 
many hurtful words at them in his wrath. His real 
reason, they began to fear, was not the roughness of 
the sea. for some sheltered bay or inlet with calm 
water might have easily been reached, had he so 
desired, but that he had resolved to possess himself of 
their treasure." 

" They had played into his hands by speaking of 
the contents of the chest/' I said. 

" That was their mistake, and they have had to re- 
pent themselves of it. That same night, while they 
slept, they were seized, put into manacles, and 
thrown into the close and filthy den in which they 
were discovered by us. 

" They saw the captain but once after their 



imprisonment, and he had told them — for their comfort 
— that it had been his original intention to fling them 
overboard, but that he had changed his mind, and 
would deliver them up, instead, to the English 
Governor of Connaught, when the ship arrived at 
Galwajr, as plotters against the peace of Ireland. 
Then they never would be heard of again, for all men 
knew of what sort of stuff Sir Nicholas Malby was 
made, and how short and sharp were his dealings 
with those who conspired against the Queen, once 
they were in his power." 

This was an evil hearing in regard to one who in 
his dying had shpwn a not unmanly kind of virtue ; 
but who is there that does not know that gold is for 
most men the god of the whole earth ? The story of 
the two struck me as being true, as it was stamped 
through and through with a sort of human natural- 
ness. And I said as much. 

" When the captain told them," continued Grace 
O'Malley, " of the fate in store for them, they offered 
him all the gold they had in the chest if only he 
would let them go. But he answered them that it 
was his already, and that he had no intention of 
parting with it. If they lived, he would never feel 
safe — and the dead had no tongue. Hearing this, 
they gave up all hope, and abandoned themselves to 
the gloom of despair, cursing the captain for his 

" Then the storm came on, and the galleon drove 
hither and thither with the tempest. Their wretched- 
ness increased, until they reflected that it would be 
i 2 



better to perish by drowning than to live to undergo 
the torture and miserable death which Sir Nicholas 
would be certain to inflict upon them." 

" The tale." I said, when I had pondered it for a 
few minutes, " does not sound to me as if it were 

"It was so far confirmed," said Grace O'Malley, 
" inasmuch as the chest of gold, the possession of 
which worked their undoing, lay concealed in the 
cabin which the captain had occupied. For safe- 
keeping I had it removed to this galley." 

" Did they tell you," said I, my thoughts reverting 
to what, after all, was the most important part of 
their statements, "what was the burden of their 
message from the King of Spain ? " 

"Not fully," she replied, "and I forebore from 
questioning them more narrowly until they had re- 
covered. They did say that Philip wishes well to 
Ireland, or rather, he loves not the English, who 
condemn him to his face, and singe his very beard. 
They hinted that the King had sent Don Francisco 
to spy out the land, and to become acquainted with 
the wishes of the princes and chiefs of the island." 

" For what purpose ? To what end ? " 

"To encourage them to rebel against the Queen, 
by giving them such help as is within his power. 
At the same time, he does not wish to appear 
to be concerned in the affairs of Ireland at all." 

I had heard of Philip before as a man who 
was uncertain of purpose and infirm of will, timid 
when he should have been bold, and bold when 



he should have been timid; one who covered him- 
self and his designs with a cloak of clumsy cunning 
which it required no skill to see through, and of 
deceit which deceived none of the least discerning 
of his enemies. Therefore said I not a word, but 
contented myself to wait for what my mistress 
might say further on the matter. 

She was silent, however, and I could see from 
her rapt, indrawn look, that her thoughts had wan- 
dered far away from us and the galleys and the 
wine fleet — perhaps to Spain and its shifty King. 
I, too, was busy thinking, and, as I conceived that 
we had affairs immediately before us of more im- 
portance than even Philip of Spain, I made bold 
to interrupt her reveries. 

" We can at least gather from the two men," 
said I, "how many ships were in the wine fleet. 
The rest of them cannot now be far off from us." 

" Yes," said she, rousing herself from her mus- 
ings like one from slumber, " they informed me 
that there were nine galleons in the fleet when 
they left Cadiz, four of them were bound for 
Limerick and five for Galway." 

"Then there are still four ships for us to fight/' 
I exclaimed. "Let the chest of gold and the 
King of Spain wait, say I. Would it not be well, 
now that the wind has fallen, to send one of the 
galleys to keep a look-out ? " 

" Tibbot the Pilot," she replied, " already watches 
the Sound in The Winged Horse. The galleons 
will most likely have been separated from each 



other by the recent storms, but if any one of them 
comes into sight we will quickly be apprised of it." 

"Have you not had enough of fighting for one 
day?" asked Eva. 

" We have vowed vengeance on Galway," I said, 
and Eva said no more, but sighed deeply. 

There was a knocking at the door of the cabin, 
and a servant entered with the message that Don 
Francisco de Vilela and Dermot Fitzgerald desired 
speech of Grace O'Malley, to thank her for her 
kindness to them. Permission being granted, the 
two men soon iqnade their appearance. They had 
eaten, had washed themselves, and were attired in 
fresh clothes taken from the supplies on board 
the galleon, and looked very different, I imagine, 
from what they had done when they had emerged 
from the hole in the Capitana, where they had 
been imprisoned. 

Both of them bowed with a profound reverence 
to my mistresses, and I took note, even in the half- 
light, of the contrast they made as they stood 
together. The Irishman was fair and ruddy, the 
Spaniard dark and swarthy as most Spaniards are. 
Fitzgerald was tall — nearly as tall as myself — Don 
Francisco of the middle height, but having a very 
soldierly bearing and an air of resolution which 
his comrade lacked. Thus much I saw at a 

De Vilela was the first to speak, and his accent 
had all the smooth deference of the court rather 
than the rough sincerity of the camp. 



" Senorita," said he, " if you will suffer a poor 
gentleman of Spain to offer you his thanks " 

' Madame," said the Irishman, interrupting him 
impulsively, " I never dreamt the day would come 
when I should be glad to be a prisoner " 

" Nay, nay ! " quoth Grace O'Malley, " no more 
of that, I beg." 

The glance of the two men swept past her, 
de Vilela's to fasten on Eva O'Malley, Fitzgerald's 
on me, while my mistress made us known to each 
other. Then they entreated her to say what was 
her will in regard to them, and what ransom she 
demanded for their release. But she replied that 
she had not yet determined, and so put them off. 

She conversed for some minutes with de Vilela, 
speaking to him of the West Indies, whither, it 
appeared, he had been in one of the very ships 
for which Tibbot the Pilot was watching — the San 
Millan de Simancas. 

I now had had leisure to observe him more 
closely, and he gave me the impression of a man 
of high breeding. He discoursed with a tongue 
of winning sweetness, more like a woman's than a 
man's, and yet one had only to examine with a 
little carefulness the lines of his face to be con- 
vinced that these soft tones were like the fur over 
claws, and that there was nothing else of the 
feminine about him. 

His companion, Fitzgerald, was of a very different 
type, although he, too, was of knightly birth — rash, 
unstable, easily swayed, but generous and warm of 



heart, with quick, unstudied manners, and no 
capacity for much besides the wielding of his sword. 

Ever as the Spaniard spoke his dark, eloquent 
eyes wandered from one to another of us, resting 
with an absorbed intensity longest on Eva — a thing 
in no wise to be wondered at, but which I did not 
care to see, although I had no right to be jealous. 

And then there broke upon the hush of the 
night, now grown still and calm, the zip-zap-swish, 
zip-zap-swish of the oars of a galley, quickly driven 
by its rowers through the water ; there was the 
low, clear call of Tibbot as The Winged Horse came 
up towards us, while at his word the oars hung 
motionless and glistening in the pale moonlight, 
and I went out to hear what tidings he brought. 

He reported that the tops of the masts of two 
large ships were to be seen on the horizon, and 
that there might be more, as the light was but 
faint owing to the clouds that still passed over the 
sky. I hastened back to inform my mistress of 
Tibbot's news. The door of the cabin opened before 
I had reached it and Grace O'Malley appeared upon 
the scene, and as the door closed behind her I 
saw that Don Francisco was speaking earnestly to 
Eva, who, for her part, was listening to him with 
deep attention. 


a woman's wile. 

" What news ? " demanded Grace O'Malley. 

Repeating Tibbot's words to her, I asked what 
her commands were. 

" This afternoon while you slept, Ruari," she 
replied, " the idea of a certain artifice or stratagem 
came into my mind, and the darkness of the night 
is so much in favour of its successful issue that 
there is no reason why it should not be attempted. 
It was suggested to me as I went over the stores 
of the galleon by the quantities of all manner of 
garments on board of her -" 

So had spoken very rapidly, being conscious that 
with the galleons not far away there was no time 
to spare. 

" Enough, at present," she continued. " I will 
tell you more of it when I have made a disposition 
of our ships." 

" The prisoners V I questioned. " They can 
scarcely be expected to join us in an attack on 
Spanish ships — even although these ships are in 
reality more the property of the merchants of Gal- 
way than of any others." 

" Transfer them," said she, " to The Gross of Blood, 
which I shall loave here under Calvagh's charge. 



When you have seen them safely in his hands come 
to me — I shall be on the Capitana" 

" The Capitana ! " I exclaimed, surprised. 

" Yes," said she. " In a little while you will 
see why I say the Capitana" 

I hurried off into the cabin, and telling Don 
Francisco and Fitzgerald that they were to be put 
for the night aboard of my galley, and having whis- 
pered to Eva that there was something in the wind, 
but that I knew not quite what it was, I conducted 
the two men to The Cross of Blood, and delivered 
them over to Calvagh, bidding him keep a close guard 
over them. Then I got into a boat, and in a trice was 
on the Spanish galleon's deck. 

Just as I reached it the clouds drifted from off 
the face of the moon, and as I looked up around me 
I could scarcely believe my eyes at what I saw. 
Pausing not to think, I placed my hand upon my 
sword, and had pulled it half-w r ay out of its sheath, 
when a voice which I recognised as Tibbot the Pilot's, 
sang out close to my ear, while there was a splutter of 
laughter in his throat, as he said — 

" 'Tis a wise man who sometimes doubts his seeing 
aright, Ruari Macdonald. Know you not your friends 
from your foes ? " 

Tibbot, I perceived, was not attired in the Irish 
fashion, but had discarded his saffron mantle and his 
long, wide-sleeved jacket, and had replaced them by a 
sober Spanish suit, under which, one might be sure, 
was a shirt of mail. 

And now I noticed that the sailors who moved 

a woman's wile. 


about us, getting the galleon ready for sea, were 
no more our own wild kernes of Mayo, but all 
mariners of Spain ! 

" Tibbot," said I, " what is the meaning of this ? 
Wherefore is this mummery ? " 

" Tis by our mistress's order," said he, " and 'tis 
herself will have good reason for it, I'm thinking." 
And his cheeks creased with laughter. 

Grace O'Malley had said something of a stratagem, 
— was this it ? One quicker of apprehension than 
myself would have seen what her intentions were, 
but I had to go and ask her for an explanation. 

And, lo, on the poop deck, where a few hours 
before there had been so great a struggle, I found 
not my mistress, but a youthful, handsome, smiling, 
debonair knight of Spain, who yet had the eyes and 
the accents of our princess ! By her side there stood 
the captain of the Capitana, risen from the dead — 
or such a passable imitation of him in face and figure 
as might well have deceived the living. 

I stared stupidly at them both, — and then I 
understood. For the nonce, we were no longer 
O'Malleys or other free Irish rovers of the sea, but 
dons and senors — if you please, — soldiers and sailors 
under the flag of Spain ; the Capitana for the time 
being had not been taken, but was still bound in all 
security for the port of Galway — only haply, that 
being stayed by storms, she had taken shelter behind 
the island of Arran, from which she would presently 
emerge to meet the other galleons as they came up. 

And then — the thing was plain enough. 



A woman's wit is a wonderful thing, and well is it 
for us men that the loves and the hates of women do 
dim the brightness of it, else would we be dazzled and 
blind and dumb all our days, and our strength be 
but a vain thing. 

" What think you of my plot ? " said the J^oung 
gentleman adventurer, this Spanish knight, who was 
my mistress. 

" You are a great magician, senor ! " said I, taking 
her humour. " And what would you with this Ruari 
Macdonald — once the sworn servant of an Irish prin- 
cess, known as Grace O'Malley ? " 

" By my faith," cried she, " I would not have him 
changed for all the world." 

And the words were dear to me, so that my heart 
glowed within me — even as it does now at the memory 
of them. 

Then she spoke to me with some fulness of the 
snare she was preparing for the two galleons, now 
beating up towards the Sound. 

It was the case, no doubt, said she, that the five 
ships of the wine fleet had been scattered over the 
western seas by the storm, but those Tibbot had 
seen had managed to keep by each other or had come 
together again, and were travelling as slowly as pos- 
sible, with a view to picking up their companion vessel, 
and, further, that their sailing powers would most 
probably have been reduced by the damage wrought 
upon them by the tempest. 

Her purpose was to stand off and on in the 
Sound, manoeuvring the Gcvpitana in such a way as 

A woman's wile. 


to indicate that she had also suffered from the violence 
of the weather ; to allow the ships to come up within 
near hail of her — which they would be certain to do, 
as they could have no suspicion of what had befallen 
the Capitana, especially as they would be able to see 
nothing strange in the appearance of the galleon or in 
the dress of those on board of her — and then to trust 
to the chances of the hour for the rest. 

When I raised the objection that this plot of hers 
necessitated the absence of the galleys from the 
attack, she replied that no more than a bare guard 
had been left on board of them, and that she had 
as many as eighty men out of them, and had placed 
them on the Capitana, a number which she thought 
more than sufficient for the enterprise. 

" If all goes well," said she, " I will myself lead the 
assault on the first ship, and Tibbot on the other — if 
they have to be fought together at the same time ; do 
you remain on the Capitana, for she must be seen to 
by one who is a seaman, and much may depend on 
the way in which she is managed. Besides, you must 
still be weary of the fight of a few hours ago. But 
circumstances will guide us." 

"Surely," said I, "there is no need for you to 
expose yourself, and my fatigue is gone." 

" Nay, nay ! " said she, " let the thing stand." 

The anchor was gotten up, and out beyond the 
point of Trawkeera went the ship, the moon now 
shining more clearly, and the stars showing here 
and there like diamonds through a scarf of clouds. 
And there, not more than a mile away, loomed 



up the two galleons for which we were on the 

The wind was light, and the sails of the galleon, 
which was the nearer of the two to us, showed up 
in grey shadows against the velvety black of the sky. 
She was of the usual build of the merchant ship of 
Cadiz, with the same lumbering breadth, the same 
high castles at poop and bows, and the same rig in 
every respect as had that which we had captured, 
and was of much the same size. Some distance 
behind her was her companion, and the two vessels 
were so much alike that the second appeared to be 
the double of the first. 

As soon as we were within view, a lantern was 
waved three times towards us from the bows of the 
leading ship — a signal to which we responded by also 
waving a lantern three times, surmising that some 
such answering sign would be expected back in 

We waited with an anxious curiosity to see how 
this would be taken, and as Ave saw the dark figures 
of the watch hurrying, in evident alarm, to the 
bulwarks to gaze at us, and heard their voices raised 
in discussion coming faintly across the waters, we 
could not fail to understand that some other token 
had been looked for. 

In their perplexity they knew not what to make 
of us, and we could see plainly enough that there was 
an argument going on among them in respect of us. 
As the distance between us slowly lessened, their 
uncertainty and indecision were increased when they 

A woman's wile. 


beheld, as we took excellent care they should, a few 
of the O'Malleys standing on the fore-deck of the 
Gapitana. Even had it been as bright as day, they 
could not have imagined that they were other than 
Spanish sailors like themselves. 

Our men had been ordered to remain quite still 
and silent, and under the moon, over which a web of 
cloud was being spun, they appeared like figures 
carved out of stone. 

The watchman on the bows of the galleon hailed 
us, and though his voice sounded clearly to us, we 
pretended not to hear; he called again through the 
quiet of the night, and when we returned no answer 
we could see that he ran with a sort of terror of he 
knew not what from his place, and was lost in the 
darkness of the forecastle. 

In the meantime we had come close up to her, 
her sailors bending blanched, fear-stricken faces over 
her bulwarks upon us, and perhaps thinking that 
they saw before them the fabulous Ship of Death, 
upon which for ever sail the souls of those foully 
murdered on the sea, and which for the nonce had 
taken on the form of the Gapitana to lure them to 
their doom, for never might human eyes behold that 
dreaded sight and live. 

The two ships were now so near each other that 
it required but a touch of the helm and the quick 
ringing word of command from Grace O'Malley — 
the statues sprang to life, and a host of the 
O'Malleys jumped on board the galleon at different 



It was all the work of a twinkling, so soon was 
the ship carried. The watch on deck were over- 
powered and made prisoners with scarcely a blow 
being struck. Tibbot crept through a window in the 
poop of the Spaniard, and, followed by a dozen of 
the Irish, had secured those who were asleep or 
half- awakened before they could make any resist- 
ance. In the forecastle alone was there any struggle, 
for there a handful of men stood to their weapons, 
and, refusing quarter, fought on till everyone of them 
was slain. 

I had watched with straining eyes through the 
gloom for the form of that young Spanish knight 
who was my mistress, and, not seeing it anywhere, 
was in sore dismay; not many minutes, however, 
went by — the action had moved with the speed with 
which things change in a dream — when she appeared 
on the poop, as I thought. 

Nor was I mistaken, for she called to me to trim 
the Capitana and to wear down upon the other 
galleon, which had changed her course, and was 
striving to make off southwards for the open sea. 
Her watch had given the alarm, and we could see 
the dark bodies of her crew and of her fighting men 
making to their posts. 

Sending back to me some of our Irish for the 
better working of the Capitana, she caused the newly- 
captured vessel to be released from the grapplings 
and fastenings, by which I had had her bound to 
us while the attack was going on, and we swung 
apart. Crowding on sail in hot haste, we put about, 

A woman's wile. 


and went in pursuit of the fleeing galleon, which not 
only had the start of us, but now also appeared to be 
a better sailer than either of us, as we did not gain 
on her, but, on the contrary, rather fell back. 

It was apparent that she would escape us if we 
were to trust to our sailing powers alone. I had just 
determined to train one of the cannon on board the 
Capitana on to her, when a loud explosion shook 
the air. 

Of what had occurred, then and afterwards on 
the Santa Ana, as the ship Grace O'Malley had 
just taken was named, I was not a witness, nor 
was Tibbot, who told me of it, either; but it is 
narrated here just as I heard it. 

Seeing that there was a likelihood of the galleon, 
to which we were giving chase, showing us a clean 
pair of heels, she ordered Tibbot to the helm of the 
Santa Ana, and, telling him of what she intended, 
she herself went among the prisoners, who were lying 
bound in different parts of the ship. 

Among them she found divers persons who under- 
stood the Irish tongue, and them, by both promises 
and threats, she compelled to bring before her the 
master of the ordnance and those who assisted him 
in loading and firing the cannon. Surrounding these 
men with her own, each of whom had sword, spear, or 
battle-axe ready in his hand, she marched them to 
the forecastle and forced them, on pain of instant 
death, to serve the two great cannon which were in 
the bow-ports. The first discharge of these was the 
explosion I had heard, 



The balls from these pieces were so ineffective, 
passing wide of the mark and splashing into the sea 
a considerable distance from the galleon, that her 
anger was kindled, and she warned the master of the 
ordnance that if he were not more successful on a 
second attempt she would not spare him, being 
assured that he was merely trifling with her. 

Whether it was because of the terrifying effect 
of her words, or because he was determined to give 
the galleon every opportunity for getting away from 
us, and was reckless of what became of himself, the 
succeeding shots flew as wide as before. When 
Grace O'Malley perceived this she was transported 
with rage, and, crying that he had brought his 
fate upon his own head, ran him through with her 

Had she not quickly interfered, all his com- 
panions would have been instantly despatched by 
the Irish, who were eager to emulate the example 
she had set them. 

Aghast at the death of the master of the ord- 
nance, and suspecting that there was no hope of 
anything else for themselves, they cried out sharply, 
breathlessly, tremblingly, each protesting and vowing 
by all the saints that he would undertake to do 
whatever he was bid, if only his life were promised 

Seeing from their look that they were likely to 
do as they said, but fearing lest they should be un- 
strung, being so wrought upon by their terror, she 
agreed that they should not be slain, but commanded 

A woman's wile. 


them to chose from out of their number him who 
was the most skilful cannoneer, so that there should 
be no mistake in regard to the fit service of the 
ordnance. At the same time she told them that all 
their lives depended on him, for if he failed at the 
next discharge to damage the galleon, not only would 
he be immediately killed, but that all of them would 
likewise suffer instant death. 

They chattered for a second together, and then 
one of them, perhaps bolder or more desperate than 
the rest, stepped forward, and accepted her offer. 

Having warned him again, Grace O'Malley had 
the guns loaded once more, and stood over the man 
with drawn sword as he applied the burning match 
to the touch-hole of first one cannon and then of 
the other. When the smoke had cleared away, it 
was seen that the mainmast of the galleon had 
been shot through and had fallen over, so that it 
lay partly across her waist and partly was in the 

Thus impeded, the galleon almost at once lost 
her sea-way, and both the Santa Ana and the 
Gapitana began rapidly to come up with her. 
Meanwhile shouts and shrieks resounded from her 
decks; her sailors ran about in fear and confusion, 
but after awhile they appeared to be got into some 
kind of order, and, as a ball from her boomed across 
our bows, it was evident that her captain was resolved 
to fight for his ship. 

As our vessels approached, we received a broad- 
side from her which did us both no little harm, 
j 2 



especially to our hulls and rigging, and a shot tore 
along the forecastle of the Gapitana in an oblique 
direction, killing two of my crew and wounding three 
or four men before it plunged into the sea. 

But it was impossible for her to prevent us from 
coming up alongside of her, and so soon as we had 
made ourselves fast to her our boarders poured in 
upon her. And thereupon ensued a battle not more 
terrible than obstinate, while the faint streaks of a 
cold and troubled dawn stole upon us, shedding its 
gleams on the dead and dying as they lay in pools of 
blood upon her decks. 

No quarter was asked or given. Whom the sword 
or the battle-axe or the spear smote not, him the sea 
received, for many of the Spaniards, crying that all 
was lost, threw themselves from the galleon into the 
water and were drowned. There remained, however, 
towards the end of the fight a small company of 
arquebusiers and swordsmen upon the poop, and 
among them was the captain of the ship, his clothing 
stained and disordered, and a great, red sword in his 

Seeing that no hope remained, he made signs 
that he wished to surrender, and begged that his 
life and the lives of those with him might be spared, 
to which Grace O'Malley straightway assented. 

As he walked towards her with his sword in his 
hand, with the purpose apparently of presenting it 
to her in token of his submission, he seemed to 
stumble on the planks, which were slippery with 
blood, and then, suddenly recovering himself, he 

A woman's wile. 


made a mad, swift rush forward, and would have 
wounded, perhaps killed, my mistress if his intention 
had not been guessed by Tibbot, who in the very nick 
of time dashed aside the point of the captain's sword 
and brained him with his battle-axe. 

So incensed were the Irish at this act of treachery 
that they would show no mercy, and not a soul was 
left alive. 

Thus was the San Miguel, as she proved herself 
to be, taken. 

Our first care now was to return to Inisheer, 
so the three galleons were trimmed as well as was 
within our power, and our course was shaped for the 
island, where our three galleys lay, and which was 
reached in due time without our seeing any more 
ships of the wine fleet. 

And here we remained, among the islands of 
Arran, for several days, waiting for the other two 
galleons of which we had heard ; but as they did not 
come into sight, we conjectured that they had either 
put into some port in another part of Ireland or had 
been driven on the rocks and wrecked. 

Then we bore northwards with the Spanish 
galleons and our three galleys to a sequestered bay 
on the coast of Iar-Connaught, where we concealed 
in caves and other secret places well known to us 
a portion of the great treasure and of the rich stores 
that had been found in the merchant ships. Some 
of their ordnance was put on board the galleys and 
the rest cast into the sea. 

As for the galleons themselves, they were steered 



within a mile of the harbour of Galway, in full view 
of its walls, set on fire, and then sent adrift, blazing, in 
the bay ; while the prisoners, all save Don de Vilela 
and Fitzgerald, were landed on the coast, and left 
to make the best of their way to the city, where 
on their arrival they published abroad all that Grace 
O'Malley had done. 

And I have not wit enough to describe the 
amazement and anger of Sir Nicholas, nor the 
disappointment and vexation of the merchants at 
the losses they had sustained through the destruc- 
tion of the wine fleet. 

But homeward to Clew Bay we sailed, and little 
cared we. 




Before we had left the Bay of Galway for the north 
I had been so constantly occupied with the unlading 
of the galleons, the disposal of our plunder, and the 
care and the landing of the prisoners, that I had 
got no more than glimpses of my mistresses, and 
then they were seldom alone. For de Vilela and 
Fitzgerald, although they had a cabin given them 
on The Gross of Blood, were but rarely on my galley 
during the hours of day, spending most of the time 
with the two ladies on The Grey Wolf. 

I perceived they were treated rather as honoured 
guests than as captives, and I knew that Grace 
O'Malley held many long and earnest conversations 
with Don Francisco, the subject of which was ever 
the same — to wit, what Philip of Spain would do 
on behalf of the Irish if they rose in rebellion against 
the Queen. 

Now, it mattered not at all to me who was King 
or Queen of Ireland, whether it was Philip or Eliza- 
beth who should be sovereign of the island, and I 
had as lief it were the one as the other. 

I owed no fealty to England or to Spain, and, 
being a Macdonald of the Isles, no more to the 
Queen, King, or Regent of Scotland than could be 



forced from us Macdonalds of the West, and that 
was neYer over-much. But I was sworn to the 
service of Grace O'Malley, and if she preferred Spain 
to England, then it was Spain for me! Yet what 
I had heard of Philip made me conclude that the 
Irish would not find him to their liking, as certainly 
he was not to mine. 

For, as a thing of course, there arose this 
question: If Philip helped the Irish to drive the 
English out of Ireland, and the English were expelled 
from the island, what reward would Philip expect 
to receive in return ? Would he not look to become 
its king ? However, so far as I was concerned, the 
answer lay with my mistress and not with me. 

What struck deeper to my heart, so that it was 
filled with aching every hour, was no such great 
affair as the possession of a kingdom ; yet was it 
greater to me than all the kingdoms of the world. 
It was that I began to doubt — nay, to fear — that the 
dear, sweet, fair woman whom I loved would never 
be mine. 

I had dreamed that I, too, would be a king — 
her king. Now I saw, or seemed to see, myself 
uncrowned, disrobed, and beggared, thrust outside 
the gates of the palace in which she dwelt. But 
I had never been crowned, nor robed, nor rich, save 
in visions, and was in truth the veriest beggar on 
the face of the earth. 

Although I was able to be so little with my 
mistresses, I was not so blind as not to see that 
de Vilela was entirely fascinated by Eva O'Malley. 



She had impressed him from the first, and herein 
I blamed him not. And the more he saw of her 
the more her charm worked upon him. That sur- 
prised me not ; it would have been surprising if it 
had not. 

What stung me to the soul was that Eva was 
evidently interested in the man, listening absorbedly 
to everything he said. Many strange and curious 
tales had he to tell of Spain and of the Moors, and, 
most of all, of those new lands beyond the seas, 
inhabited by the Indians, with their magical cities 
of gold and their wondrous mines of gems and 
precious stones. Spoke he, too, of the mysteries of 
those far-off regions; of the lakes and forests and 
mountains that floated above the clouds, swimming 
in the silent air ; of sacred temples rising tower above 
tower, exceeding majestical, out of wide plains of 
gleaming verdure ; of their princes and priests and 
people — all themes as entrancing as any story of 

Nor lacked he such also, for he could tell of those 
splendid feats of arms which have made the glory 
of the world. He was a master, too, of the secrets 
of courts, and stood high in the councils of his King. 

'Twas no wonder that that soft tongue of his 
wooed and won upon our women, who had so often 
heard with delight the ruder stories of our bards. 
Who was I to match myself against this paragon, this 
paladin, this gentle and perfect knight ? 

My thoughts were bitter and gloomy, like one 
walking in the shadow of death, and I had not even 



the poor consolation of saying to myself that Don 
Francisco was nothing more than a squire of dames 
- — at home rather in my lady's bower than in the 
tented field — for there was that about him which 
proclaimed him a soldier, and even a veteran of war. 
Good reason, too, had we to know him before many 
weeks were past for the bold and ready sword he 

And when we had returned to Clew Bay, and the 
galleys were safe in the haven under Knockmore, 
both de Vilela and Fitzgerald accompanied us to 
the castle of Carrickahooley, where they were re- 
ceived by my mistresses as if they held them in 
their kindest regard. Indeed, they were so cour- 
teously entertained that the darkness of my spirits 
deepened, so that I hardly knew myself. 

I was in as many moods as there were hours in 
the day, until I felt a shame of myself and of my 
weakness born in me. At first, I had chafed and 
fretted like a spoiled child ; then a sullen and savage 
temper had possessed me, so that I could see that 
the crews of the galleys observed me, thinking that 
perhaps the bite of my wounds still hurt and galled ; 
now, recovering myself, I bade myself endure hard- 
ness, and bear the lash of the whip of fate, and be 
a man. 

But my dear was very dear to me, and my heart 

In the meantime I was going backward and for- 
ward among the islands and on the mainland, dis- 
tributing portions of the plunder we had taken from 



the galleons to the widows and relatives of those 
who had fallen in the fighting, as was the custom 
of Grace O'Malley with her people. Other parts of 
the spoil were for greater security put into the 
strong chambers under the castle and elsewhere. 

There remained the chest of gold and various 
vessels and chains and rings of silver and gold, 
many of them richly jewelled, to be hidden away, 
and, for this purpose, Grace O'Malley and I went in 
a boat by ourselves to the Caves of Silence under 
the Hill of Sorrow. And as I rowed, and considered 
the while what significance there was in the gold 
not being restored to those who made claim to being 
its owners, I experienced a sudden lightening of my 

I reasoned that there must be some doubt in 
the mind of my mistress of the truth of the story 
she had been told of the chest of gold, or else she 
would not have kept it. She could not entirely 
trust them — de Vilela and Fitzgerald — or she would 
have returned the money to them. So I thought, 
but even this comfort was taken from me. 

When we had reached the dark, narrow strait 
that lies between the high cliffs, the grim sentinels 
which guard the entrance to the caves, the boat 
shot into it like an arrow, and, without a word, we 
went swiftly for a distance of half a mile or more — 
the zip-drip of the oars alone being heard, eerie and 
startling, as the sound shivered up the black walls 
of rock. 

There, jutting out from them, was the Red Crag, 



that is in shape like the head of a bull even to the 
horns ; beyond, a strip of beach, and, at the side of 
it, a ledge of grey-blue stone; then again the rock 
walls, ever narrowing and becoming yet more narrow, 
until they closed in an archway, and we lost the 
light of day as the boat passed on up the fissure 
that runs deep into the bowels of the Hill of Sorrow. 
There was not room for rowing, and I forced the boat 
along with a hook, Grace O'Malley having lighted 
a torch. 

Then we came to the black, slippery block of 
stone which seems to close up the passage, but the 
secret of which was known to us, and to us only. 

Here we entered — by what way I may never tell 
— and were in the first cave of silence, a vast, gloomy, 
ghostly, dimly-lit hall, with tables and altars and 
seats carved out of the living rock by hands dead 
these many thousand years, and on the floor where 
it was stone and not water, a grey, powdered dust, 
faintly coloured here and there as with specks of 
rust — and all that dust was once alive, for these caves 
are the graves of men. 

Out of this vast chamber opened a number of 
smaller caves, that looked not unlike the cells of 
monks — and monks of some sort perhaps were they 
who lived and died here. And everywhere silence — 
a chill, brooding, fearful, awful silence ; and the living 
rock, hewn and cut ; and the floors that were partly 
stone and partly water; and the grey, rust-spotted 
dust of death ! 

In one of these caverns we deposited the treasure 



taken from the galleon, hardly speaking except in 
whispers as we did so, for the hush of the place lay 
on us like a spell. 

I ever felt a creepy horror of these dim, dumb 
shades, and was glad, when our work was done, to 
return again to the light of the sun. 

It was on our way back to the castle that Grace 
O'Malley spoke of what was in her mind. Her face 
was stern and set and full of purpose. 

" Ruari," said she, " much has happened since 
last we visited these caves together with my father, 
Owen. Now he is gone, and I, his daughter, am 
proscribed by the English. To what better end 
could the treasure in these caves be put than to help 
to drive the English out of Ireland ? " 

"The treasure is yours," said I slowly, for her 
words killed my new-found hope, "to do with as 
you list, and your will is mine. But the English are 
many, and brave and strong. Remember Shane 
O'Neil, and how he fell before them. It would be a 
terrible thing to lose the treasure, and still to have 
the English in the land." 

" We are at war with them in any case," said she. 
" As for Shane O'Neil, he was unsuccessful because 
he stood alone, but if all the princes and chiefs of 
the island unite, the result would surely be different. 
Then there is the power of Spain to be thrown into 
the balance on our behalf. The King has promised 
to send both men and money, if we will but compose 
our own feuds, and band ourselves together for the 
one common object." 



I answered not a word, but pulled at the oars 


" Ruari ! " she exclaimed. " Why this silence ? 
It is not like you to be so quiet when the sound 
of battle is in the air." 

" Say on," cried I, " I am your servant." 

She gazed at me, as one who considered anxiously 
a thing which puzzled her. 

" It is not the treasure, surely?" said she. " When 
did you care for anything save the taking of it ? " 
Then a light leaped into her eyes, and she laughed 
more heartily than she had done for days. " You 
do not like Don Francisco ? That is it ! " And she 
laughed again. 

"Don Francisco is well enough," said I, but she 
passed the empty words by. 

" Eva is but a young lass," said she, with the hard- 
ness gone from her face, so tender had it become all 
at once, "and the Don, who is certainly a gallant 
gentleman, and not a love-sick boy, gives her 
pleasure with his tales and romances. That is all ! " 

A love-sick boy ! That was I, Ruari Macdonald. 
So Grace O'Malley knew my secret; did Eva know 
it also? 

" Grace O'Malley," said I, resting on the oars, in 
anguish, for her words brought no solace to me, " my 
heart is sore." 

"Ruari," said she impatiently, "you are nothing 
but a big boy. Eva had a liking for de Vilela, and 
so have I, but neither of us has any love for him." 

"She does not love him!" cried I doubtfully, yet 



with a gladness unspeakable conquering the doubt; 
" she does not love him ! " 

" Listen, Ruari ! " said my mistress, with a deep, 
almost melancholy gravity. " If this noble Spaniard 
love her truly, and she do not him, consider how 
terrible a misfortune has befallen him. To love 
greatly, nobly, truly — 9i and then she paused — "and 

to find that such a love is unreturned " and again 

she stopped. " But love is not for me ; these Caves 
of Silence give me strange thoughts," continued she. 

Here was my mistress in a mood that was new to 
me, and I held my peace, wondering. I had deemed 
that her thoughts were set on war and her quarrel 
with the Governor of Galway, forgetting, as I so often 
did, that she was a woman as well as as our princess 
and chief. 

"Do you not understand," said she again, "that 
the English will not be satisfied to let our affairs 
remain as they are ? This is not like the strife 
between two of our septs. Think you that Sir 
Nicholas is the man to be easily defied ? Not so ; 
the matter is no more than begun. He will try to 
have his revenge, nor will he tarry long over it. See, 
then, how great an advantage it is for us that de Vilela 
should have come to us at such a time, with the 
assistance of the King of Spain. Will not the whole 
island rise against the Queen of England ? " 

" To make Philip King of Ireland ? " asked I. 

" I know not that," replied she ; " but the first 
thing is to expel the English." 

Then she told me that Fitzgerald and de Vilela 



were soon to set out, making their way across the 
country to the Earl of Clanrickarde, and, later, to 
the Earl of Desmond, who was known to be disaffected 
to the government. By the spring of the following 
year, it was hoped a general rising would be arranged 
for, and in the interval soldiers and money would 
arrive from Spain, and a camp would be formed at a 
point on the coast, chosen for its ease of access from 
the open sea, and the readiness with which it could 
be fortified. 

It was much, nay, it was everything, for me to 
know that Eva O'Malley was not in love with Don 
Erancisco, and it was with very changed feelings that 
I returned to Carrickahooley. 

Yet, though I had my mistress's assurance that all 
was well, I soon became doubtful and dissatisfied, for 
time passed and de Vilela made no preparations to 
depart on his mission to Clanrickarde, while his 
devotion to Eva was more evident day by day. I 
asked myself why he lingered, considering the im- 
portance of the business on which he was engaged, 
and Eva was the only reply to that question. 

It was when I was in this unhappy frame of mind 
that one of Richard Burke's messengers, who had 
come by way of Lough Corrib and Lough Mask from 
Galway, arrived at the castle, bringing news that Sir 
Nicholas Malby was on the point of setting out to 
eat us up. 

Beyond this, the man, who was a half - witted 
creature, and so permitted to wander about at his 
pleasure, no one doing him hurt because such as he 



were counted outside of the course of nature, could 
tell us little or nothing. Richard the Iron had 
either not trusted him with more than the barest 
message, or else had had no opportunity for saying 
more. It was possible, also, that he had not been 
able to find out exactly what was intended against us. 

The season was still fine and open, and if the 
Governor so determined it, he could attack us by 
bringing a force along the shores of the lakes, and 
then up by the valley of the Eriff. Or, if he designed 
to assault us from the sea, as he might if he had 
obtained some of Winter's ships of war, he might 
purpose to come that way at us. But Burke's 
messenger could tell us nothing of this. 

It seemed more likely that, as the march through 
Connaught would be slow and tedious, and beset by 
the dangers which attend the passage of a large body 
of men through a difficult and little known country, 
he would strive to reach and assault us by sea. 

Therefore, Grace O'Malley commanded me to take 
The Cross of Blood, and, sailing southwards, to keep a 
look-out for Sir Nicholas and the English vessels of 
Winter, then in charge of a great part of the fleet 
of Queen Elizabeth. And, indeed, I was eager to be 
gone, not only because I was ever ready for action of 
one kind or another, but also because I felt it would 
be a relief to the painful uncertainty in which I was 
with regard to Eva. 

I had several times resolved to speak to my dear 
of the love for her which burned within me, but no 
fit occasion seemed to arise, and, shy and timid 




where she was concerned, I had not had the wit to 
make one for myself. And I marvelled at myself, 
being bold, not to say foolhardy, in most matters, and 
yet not a little of a coward before this one small, 
fair woman. 

Out from Clew Bay put we with all haste, the 
wind and sea not being amiss, and here for two days we 
drove before the breeze without coming in sight of a 
ship of any size. On the third day we lay off shore 
in a bay not many leagues from Galway, and there 
the hours passed by, and still there was no sign of 
Winter's vessels. 

I was in two minds, nor could at first settle with 
myself whether to return to Clew Bay at once, having 
come to the conclusion that Sir Nicholas was to 
attack us by land, or to endeavour to enter Galway, 
and so to discover what he had done, or was about 
to do. 

Now it was of the utmost consequence that we 
should learn what were the plans of the Governor, if 
they could be come at in any way, and, having in- 
formed my officers of what I proposed, I determined 
to disguise myself and to enter the city to obtain 
what we were in search of. 

Bidding my people return to Clew Bay if I 
came not back to the galley in three days at the 
furthest, I put on the dress of a mendicant friar, and 
in the night was rowed to the fishing village that is 
just outside the gates of Galway. Landing, I made 
my way to the huts, and saw a light burning in one. 
When I knocked at the door, a man appeared, who, 



seeing a priest, as he thought, asked my blessing and 
invited me to enter. 

After a few words, I threw myself down on the 
earthen floor, and, saying that I was weary and fain 
would sleep, closed my eyes and waited for the dawn. 
The fisherman made some rough provision for my 
comfort, and left me ; but I could hear him whisper- 
ing to his wife, and her replying to .something he 
had said. 

When the morning was come, I asked to be 
shown the house of the nearest priest, whom I 
found, early as it was, astir and busy with his 
office. Discovering myself to him — and this I did 
because I knew all the Irish priests were our friends 
— I requested him to tell me where Sir Nicholas 

But he made answer that he went seldom within 
the walls of the city, as the watch was very strict 
since the escape of Grace O'Malley, and that no one 
was suffered to go in or out save only by permission 
of the marshal. He had heard, however, that since 
her flight the Irish in Galway and the neighbourhood 
were regarded with suspicion, and that some of them 
had been cast into prison. Sir Nicholas, he thought, 
was still in Galway. 

As for Grace O'Malley, she had been proclaimed 
a traitress by the Governor, and an enemy of the 
Queen. I myself, Ruari Macdonald, was also pro- 
scribed as an abettor of her treasons, and a great 
reward was offered for the head of the " redshank 
and rebel," as Sir Nicholas was pleased to call me. 
k 2 



And these things did not disquiet me exceedingly, 
but what did was, that I could learn nothing of 
Kichard Burke, whom I desired above all to see. 
Him, then, had I first to seek out, and, so soon as 
the gates were open, I set out for Galway, trusting 
that my priest's dress would satisfy the watch, and 
that I should be allowed to enter without any trouble 
or disturbance. 




The air was cool and the light clear as I stepped 
briskly along from the village in a northerly direction, 
up over the high, wooded lands that lie on that side 
of Galway. From an open space I obtained a view 
of the town and its harbour, and was well pleased 
to note that no ship of war, or large vessel of any 
kind, rode at anchor in the bay. Plainly, the English 
admiral, Winter, had not yet arrived. 

Then I struck across to the east, and so fetched 
a compass round until I came upon the road that 
leads to the great gate of the city, and there, no 
distance off, was the gate, open. Two carts, going to 
market with provisions, were passing in, and their 
drivers were stopped by the watch and interrogated. 

Now, I had no overweening confidence in the 
completeness of my disguise, and it was evident that 
what the village priest had told me was true as to 
the care exercised in the admission of anyone within 
the walls, so I drew off and tarried awhile, to see 
if chance would not put some opportunity into my 

I reflected, too, with perturbation, that I had no 
weapon with me except a dagger — the robe I was 
wearing making it impossible to conceal a sword 



beneath it. But then, again, came the thought that, 
however well I might have been armed, I was but 
one man with one life, and that I was about to 
adventure it in a city full of my enemies. Yet is 
there that in the mere grip of the cold cross of a 
sword that keeps the blood a flowing fire in one's 
veins, and I regretted that I had had to leave my 
good blade behind. 

While I was thus communing with myself, I 
saw two Franciscans approach, going towards the 
gate, and I straightway resolved to join them. They 
were talking loudly, as if there were a bone of con- 
tention between them, and, when they observed me, 
they both, in one breath, as it were, addressed me, 
each one asking me to give a decision in his favour 
on the subject they differed about, which was — 
Whether St. Patrick were an Irishman or not? 

I answered craftily that I should like to hear 
the arguments on both sides of the question, and 
requested them to choose which of them should be 
the first speaker. Whereupon, they halted in the 
road, disputing which should have the preference, 
and were like to have spent the morning before 
they had settled this, as neither would yield to the 
other, if I had not made a movement towards the gate. 

" Sir," said I, turning to one of them — they had 
now ranged themselves on either side of me as we 
walked on — " what say you ? That the holy Patrick 
was ? " 

" I say he was an Irishman/' burst in the other, 
on my left, before I had finished the sentence. 



"An Irishman ! " exclaimed the Franciscan on 
my right, " an Irishman ! Not he. He was a 

" I say he was an Irishman ! " 
" And I maintain he was a Scot ! " 
" An Irishman ! " 
"A Scot!" 

Their voices rose into shoutings and roarings, as 
they glared across me with angry eyes. 

"St. Patrick was never born in Ireland," cried 
the one. 

"St. Patrick was never born anywhere else," 
retorted the other. 

"I tell you, by the Mass, that St. Patrick was a 

" I tell you, by St. Peter, he was not." 

And thus they wrangled until we had reached 
the gate, where I perceived the noise they made 
had already attracted the notice of the watch. 
Without appearing to pay any attention to the 
soldiers, I nodded now to the Franciscan on my 
right, and now to him on my left, as if I followed 
their words intently. 

All my senses, however, were on the stretch, and 
my heart throbbed and fluttered in my breast, for 
the danger was great. 

" Tis Father Ambrose and Father Gregory," I 
heard one of the soldiers say, " and another of the 
fathers." Then he glanced at me inquiringly, but 
only asked, " To the Church of St. Nicholas, fathers ? " 

"Yes," was the reply, and we were passing in 



when an officer of the Governor's came down the 
street, and, scowling at us, bade us halt. 

" Whither go ye ? " he demanded gruffly. 

" To the Church of St. Nicholas," said we as with 
one voice, for I had made up my mind to go thither 

"There be too many priests in Galway already," 
said he, with stern-knit brows, " and, had I my way, 
I should hang ye all. Know ye these men ? " he 
called to the watch. 

I held my breath. Father Ambrose and Father 
Gregory they appeared to know, but as to myself, 
what would they say ? 

" Yes, sir," said the soldier who had spoken before, 
and as soon as I heard this, I moved on, the Francis- 
cans accompanying me, and beginning their dispute 
over again. 

And so on we walked to the Church of St. 
Nicholas, while I could scarcely credit having thus 
fortunately made my entrance into Galway. Having 
arrived at the church, I directed my steps to the 
shrine of my patron saint, where, on my knees, with 
more than the devoutness of many a monk, I offered 
him my gratitude for his favour and protection, and 
implored a continuance of the same. 

Thus engaged, I had not at once observed that 
someone had come up behind me, and was kneeling 
two or three paces away. When I looked up I saw 
the figure of a woman, but her face I could not see 
for the shadow of a pillar that intervened. 

Somehow, the form seemed familiar, and when 



she rose up from praying and turned to go, I was 
startled to find myself gazing at Sabina Lynch. She 
glanced at me curiously, but, beholding only a friar, 
passed on sedately out of the building, little thinking 
at the moment that she had ever been carried, and 
that not too gently nor so long ago, in that friar's arms. 

To keep up the character I had assumed I 
began begging, according to the manner of the 
order of mendicants, from door to door, so soon 
as I had quitted the church, hoping in this way to 
light upon someone from whom I might safely 
ask if Richard Burke were lodging in the town. 

And in this it appeared altogether probable 
that I should have no success, for in many instances 
I was driven from the doors of the people without 
ceremony, or paid no heed to whatever. Indeed, 
the whole town seemed to be agog with something, 
and, as the streets were now filled with soldiers 
marching in companies, it was easy to be seen 
that there was good reason for the excitement. 

When I inquired of a man who had given me 
an alms, and who was of a friendly disposition, 
what was the cause of all this moil and stir, he 
replied that surely I must be a stranger not to 
know that Sir Nicholas was bringing an army 
together in the town with which he meant to 
punish the rebels of Connaught. 

" What rebels ? " asked I innocently. 

" That pestilent and notable woman/' said he, 
"Grace O'Malley, and all her tribe of robbers and 
murderers and pirates." 



Then he told me how she had destroyed the 
wine fleet of Gal way, and so had come near to 
ruining the trade of the port. 

"She is a devil," quoth he, and he crossed 
himself, " and the Governor will kill her and her 

" A woman ! " cried I, with a great show of 
being astonished beyond measure. 

" Ay, a woman," said he, " but she must be a 
devil." And he crossed himself again. Then he 
added : " If she be not the very devil in the shape 
of a woman, there is with her a man, a giant — a 
great, strong giant — whom she calls her brother, 
but who is said to have come out of the sea, and 
is no man at all, but a devil too. Some say he 
is a Redshank of the Scots, but I tell you he is a 
devil too." 

And thus the fellow maundered on, while I 
found some trouble in restraining myself from burst- 
ing into laughter in his face. Having, however, 
thanked him civilly for his alms and information, 
I gave him my blessing — a devil's blessing — and 
so left him. 

We were devils ! 

What, then, were those who thought nothing of 
breaking a safe-conduct, or of poisoning the wine 
at banquets to which they had invited their victims 
as loving guests ? Yet the first had happened in 
the case of my mistress, and the second had been 
the fate of many an Irish chief. 

We were devils, and so to be feared ! It was no 



such bad thing at that time and in that land to 
be counted as devils, for men who had no fear of 
God before their eyes, nor of his saints, were afraid 
of devils. 

I had now come to the tavern that is under 
the sign of the Golden Eagle, and from inside 
proceeded the sound of eating and of drinking, of 
festivity and of mirth. Entering in, I was about 
to beg for alms, when I saw among the company 
a man whom I recognised as one of the Mayo 
Burkes, a gallowglass of the MacWilliam's. Him I 
at once addressed, incautiously enough, asking if 
his master were well, and where I would find him, 
as I had a message for his private ear. 

"Richard the Iron/' said he, "is lodged in the 
North Street ; and who are you, father, that know 
not that?" 

" I have been there," said I, lying boldly, " but 
he is away from the house." 

"If he be not at the mansion of the Joyces," 
said he, " then I know not where he is." 

So Richard Burke was at the mansion of the 
Joyces in the North Street. Here was good news 
indeed, and, having said some fair words to the 
man, I went out of the tavern; but when I reached 
the North Street I found that my falsehood had 
this much of truth in it — that Richard Burke was 
not there. I sat down on a bench in the court- 
yard of the mansion, and waited impatiently for 
his return. Tiring of this, I walked up the street 
towards the Little Gate, and whom should I meet 



on the way but Richard Burke riding with Sabina 

Well did I recall what Richard Burke had said 
to me some weeks before, when he had come secretly 
to The Gross of Blood. He had declared that Sabina 
Lynch loved him, but that he only cared for Grace 
O'Malley. Yet, as I looked at them, it seemed to 
me as if he were paying Mistress Lynch no little 
court, and they appeared to take pleasure in each 
other's society. 

But when I thought of the messenger he had 
sent to Carrickahooley, and of his service, though 
unavailing, to us before, I conceived that he was 
playing a double part, holding that love and war, 
perhaps, justified any means so long as the end 
were gained. And, for that matter, I, the false 
friar, was no better than a cheat myself. 

I was determined to get speech with him with- 
out further delay — the feeling of impatience was 
so strong upon me — and, as I was casting about 
in what way I should accomplish this, Sabina 
Lynch tossed me a piece of silver as an alms, 
while I was yet three ells' length from the 

"Take that for the poor, father," cried she 

It happened that the coin after it had struck 
the ground, rolled in front of Richard Burke's horse, 
and I rushed forward to pick it up before it was 
trampled into the dust. I also trusted that under 
cover of this action I should be able to say a few 



words which would make me known to him, with- 
out being perceived by his companion. 

As I stepped into the street, he was compelled 
to rein in his horse, and then to pass by the side 
of me. 

" What a greedy, clumsy friar he is ! " laughed 
Sabina Lynch. 

In truth, I was as clumsy as clumsy could be, 
for as I drew myself up and tried to stand erect 
I hit my shoulder against Kichard Burke's foot, 
whereupon he stopped. 

"Father/' said he, good-humouredly, "have you 
no care for yourself? Then, prithee, have a care 
for me." 

And he smiled; but when he had looked into 
my face, and had met my eyes, I saw the blood 
suddenly leave his cheeks, and knew that he had 
penetrated my disguise. 

He gave so great a start that his horse leaped 
up under him, and, as it did so, the friar's cowl, 
which covered my head and partially hid my face, 
was thrown back, and there stood I, Kuari Mac- 
donald, disclosed and discovered, before Sabina 

She gazed from the one to the other of us in 
silence, then, striking her horse violently, galloped 
off, exclaiming : " Treason, treason ! " 

Kichard Burke was in a maze. 

" Ruari ! " he gasped, and could say no more. 

" I have come to Galway," said I quickly, " that 
I might have knowledge of the Governor's inten- 



tions against us. This is no place for us now," 
cried I, to rouse him, for he was like one that 
dreamed, "come, come with me before the hue 
and cry is raised." 

And I seized the bridle of his horse and turned 
its head, and led it towards the Little Gate. 

* Not that way," said he wildly. * I have just 
come from thence." 

Then he gathered himself and his wits together. 

"The Great Gate is best. Ay, this is no place 
now for me any more than it is for you. Well said 
you that. We will go together; but let us not go 
too swiftly, otherwise the watch, suspecting some- 
thing is wrong, will not let us pass. We have a 
few minutes to spare before the gates can be closed. 
Do you walk a little way behind me." 

I had replaced the cowl about my head, and, 
hardly knowing whether to be glad or sorry at 
what had fallen out, marched at a rapid pace after 
him up the street of the Great Gate. 

Richard Burke was well known to the watch, and 
no objection was made to our passing out. As long 
as we were within sight of the walls we went at a 
walk, but when a turn of the road had hid them from 
us, I grasped the saddle-cloth and ran beside the 
horse, which its rider now urged along at the top 
of its speed. 

We had gone about two miles, and had gained 
an eminence partly sheltered by trees, when, looking 
back, we saw the figures of horsemen spurring after 
us out of the city. On we sped again, until I could 



run no more. Then I besought Burke to leave me 
as I was spent and blown. But this he would not 
hearken to at first. 

" It will be a strange thing," said I, " if I cannot 
conceal myself somewhere in the trees and bushes, 
or among the rocks, for the night. In the morning 
I will make my way back to the galley." 

And I persuaded him to ride on towards his own 
territory, but not before he had told me that Sir 
Nicholas had drawn a force of a hundred men from 
Athlone, everyone of whom was a trained and 
hardened soldier, and with these, his own men, 
and the gallowglasses of Sir Morrough O'Flaherty 
of Aughnanure, who had promised to support him, 
was about to set out at once for our overthrow. 

The Governor was terribly enraged against us, and 
in his anger at the destruction of the wine fleet had 
sworn he would make an end of us alL His wrath 
burned not only against Grace O'Malley, but against 
many others of the Irish, and there had been such 
a killing and a hanging of those who were thought 
hostile to the government as had never before been 
seen or heard of in Gal way. 

Richard Burke had only escaped because ol his 
friendship with the Mayor and his daughter Sabina 
Lynch, but his every act was spied upon. 

" I remained in the city for no other reason," he 
declared, " than to see if I could not afford some help 
to you in one way or another." 

As he departed, he said, as he rung my hand, 
"I shall cast in my lot with yours, and, if it can 



be done in the time left to us, I shall bring all 
the Burkes of Mayo to your assistance. Should 
you reach Carrickahooley first, tell your mistress 

Then he swung himself again into the saddle, 
and was gone. 

He was hardly out of sight, when I heard the 
sound of hoofs beating on the road, and creeping 
in through the bushes that lined a small stream by 
the wayside I laid me down to rest, and soon I was 
listening to the voices of the men in pursuit of us 
as they drew near. They made no pause, but swept 
on past the spot where I lay. 

I was about to emerge from my place of con- 
cealment, when again the tramp of horses fell upon 
my ear, and, looking out, I saw Sir Nicholas and 
several of his officers come riding slowly along. They 
stopped quite close to me, and, dismounting, made a 
survey of the land all around, but, my star favouring 
me, they moved to the further side of the stream. 

" Let the camp be pitched here/' said Sir Nicholas, 
" and do you remain until the men come up." 

I guessed that he had been told of my presence in 
Galway, and had immediately ordered the soldiers to 
set out to catch me so that we should have no 
advantage from our being warned of his purpose. 

My position was now one of extreme peril ; I was 
cut off from returning to my galley ; and I could see 
nothing for it but to remain where I was until the 
soldiers had gone on on their journey, unless I took 
the chances of the darkness. 



There I lay, and, as the night fell, the men of 
Sir Nicholas marched up and lit their watch-fires 
not more than a stone's throw from where I hid. 
For hours, not daring to move, I heard them singing 
and talking and jesting with each other. When, at 
length, silence came upon the sleeping camp, I stole 
as softly as I could out of the bushes, and moving on, 
like a cat, so that each step of mine was no more 
noticed than a puff of wind, I managed to gain the 
road that leads past Oorid and Sindilla at the foot 
of the mountains. I walked fast, and sometimes 
ran, until the day broke, when I turned aside, and, 
having sought for and found a dry cave on the side 
of a hill, fell down utterly exhausted, and ere long 
was in a deep slumber. 

I was awakened many hours later, for it was dark 
again, by a strange sort of cheeping noise at my 
very ears. 

I started up, and the noise ceased ; I lay down, 
and the sound began once more. As I listened, 
my face to the rocky floor of the cavern, I fancied 
I could distinguish words, but, as it were, coming 
from a great way off. 

Now, thoroughly aroused, I listened yet more 
earnestly, and I made out that there were two or 
three voices, and that the sound of them was not 
coming from the inside of the cave, nor } r et from 
the outside, but seemed to issue, like a thin whistle, 
through the rock itself. 

I moved stealthily towards the far end, and, lying 
down again prone, applied my ear to the ground. 




I now heard quite distinctly, the words being audible, 
though faint, and with an extraordinary effect of still 
coming from an immense distance. 

I then understood I was in one of the chambers 
of the Whispering Eocks as they are called, for a 
wonder of nature has so constructed them that it 
is possible to hear through them, when all around 
is still, whatever is said within these caverns. And 
how this miracle comes to pass I know not, but 
I had often heard of it; otherwise I might have 
thought that these sounds came from the spirits 
of the mountain, and so might not have dis- 
covered the vile plot that had been hatched for 
our ruin. 

For, as the voices grew more and more clear, I 
found myself listening to the story of how these 
men who were speaking were to present themselves 
at the castle of Carrickahooley in advance of the 
English army, and, having gained admittance on the 
plea that they were fleeing to Grace O'Malley for 
protection, were treacherously to betray her and the 
castle into the hands of the Governor by secretly 
opening the gate as soon as the attack began. 

I gripped my dagger in impotent rage, for, placed 
as I was, I could do nothing. After a time the 
voices ceased, and, moving noiselessly to the mouth 
of the cave, I saw that the night was clear and 
starry, and, feeling refreshed by my long repose, I 
made on towards Ballanahinch, which I reached in 
the morning, and where I obtained milk and the 
flesh of a kid from the wife of one of the kernes, 



who took me for a wandering priest, and gladly 
supplied my wants. 

For two days and the greater part of two nights 
I toiled over the mountains and through the forests, 
seeing no indication of the English, until I came 
to the fiord of the Killery, where some of our own 
people dwelt under Muilrea. From thence they 
brought me round to Clew Bay in a fishing boat, 
and I was back again at Carrickahooley, more dead 
than alive from the fatigues I had undergone, 
inured though I was to all kinds of hardness. 

l 2 




As I stepped from the boat on to the face of the rock, 
which forms a natural quay on one side of the small 
harbour on the sea-front of the castle, both Grace 
and Eva O'Malley, who had seen me coming across 
the waters, met me and asked how I fared. 

I was not so spent with the travail of my weari- 
some journey as not to be conscious of a novel sort 
of shyness on the part of my dear, who seemed 
rather to hang back behind her foster-sister, and 
not to be so open and outspoken with me as for- 
merly. With some bitterness of soul I attributed 
this change of manner to her thoughts being en- 
grossed with de Vilela — so little was I able to read 
the maid's mind. 

But it was no fitting time for either the softness 
or the hardness of love, and my first care was to 
relate all that had chanced since I had seen them 

Great was their astonishment at the way in which 
Sabina Lynch came again into the tale of our for- 
tunes, and I could see, from a certain fierceness with 
which Grace O'Malley alluded to her, that a heavy 
reckoning was being laid up against her by my 
mistress. Eva, however, appeared to be more struck 



by the hopelessness of Sabina Lynch's affection for 
Kichard Burke, and found it in her heart to pity her. 

When I gave Eichard Burke's message to Grace 
O'Malley, she rejoiced exceedingly thereat, and from 
that moment — at least, so it seems to me looking 
backward to those days — she began to esteem him 
more highly than heretofore, and to cherish some 
feeling of tenderness for him, her enmity against 
Sabina Lynch, though she would not acknowledge 
that there could be any rivalry between them, help- 
ing, perhaps, thereto not a little. 

And it appeared to me as a thing curious in itself, 
and not readily explained, except by saying that my 
mistress was not free from weakness, that she should 
have shown a compassion, as she had done when she 
had spoken to me some time before of de Vilela, for 
the hapless love of a man, and had nothing of the 
kind for Sabina Lynch. 

Whatever were her thoughts on these matters, 
what she said afforded no indication of them, for, 
so soon as she had heard that the Mac William pur- 
posed to bring over from the country of the Lower 
Burkes, as they were called, to distinguish them from 
the Burkes of Clanrickarde, his gallowglasses to her 
aid against the English, she at once proceeded to 
count up how many swords and spears were at his 
command. Moreover, she regarded, she said, his 
rising against the Governor as a splendid and sure 
sign of what would shortly take place over the 
whole of Ireland. 

Continuing the tale of my adventures, I related 



the conversation I had overheard in the case of the 
nr^sterious Whispering Kocks, and my mistress 
ordered that when the men, whose council of 
treachery I had become acquainted with in so 
strange a way, made their appearance, they should 
forthwith be admitted into the castle, as if we had 
had no knowledge of their intended perfidy, and that 
they should not be dealt with as traitors until she 
deemed that time was ripe for it. 

And now, having been thus forewarned of what 
was in store for her on the part of Sir Nicholas, 
Grace O'M alley immediately set about placing the 
castle in a position of secure defence. To this end, 
several pieces of the ordnance which had been taken 
from the captured galleons of the wine fleet, and 
which had been put on board The Grey Wolf and 
The Winged Horse, now at Clare Island, were 
brought across Clew Bay, and mounted on the walls 
and towers of Carrickahooley, while the gates and 
the other more vulnerable parts of its fortifications 
were strengthened. In all these matters we were 
much assisted by Don Francisco, who had had a 
large experience of sieges, and was familiar with the 
onfalls and the outfalls and the other incidents of 
such warfare. The Spaniard and I therefore were 
together more than we had ever been before, and 
towards me he carried himself like the courteous 
and knightly man he was, while I strove to pattern 
myself upon him. 

That he loved Eva O'Malley I was in no doubt. 
Indeed, when he assured me, as he frequently did, 



how glad he was that he had not been able to leave 
the castle as he had intended doing, and how well 
pleased he was to have an opportunity of espousing 
our quarrel with the English, I understood that it 
was a delight to him to be near her in this our 
time of peril, for was not that what I also told 
myself continually ? 

That he bore a hatred towards England was true, 
but his love for Eva, as he was to prove, was some- 
thing far greater than his hatred of the English. 
Yet already, though I knew it not then, he must 
have been well aware that she was not for him. 
But no sign of grief or disappointment did he allow 
to appear, albeit, always grave, as is the Spanish 
manner, he seemed still graver before the assault 
began — and this, when I observed it, I took to mean 
that he considered our situation was such as called 
for seriousness. 

Whilst our preparations to repel the English 
were being made, some days elapsed, and, on the 
fifth of them, Calvagh O'Halloran brought The Cross 
of Blood into port at Clare Island, where to his 
great relief, not knowing what had been my fate 
in Galway, he was told that I was before him at 

Meanwhile, tidings were being brought us by 
bands and families of kernes and peasants, fleeing 
before the enemy, that the English were approach- 
ing. And, as they marched northwards through 
Connaught, the days were red with blood and the 
nights with fire. 



Everywhere their presence was marked by the 
smoke and flame of homesteads wantonly burned, 
and by the slaughter of all who fell into their hands, 
neither the old nor the decrepit, nor the nursing 
mother, nor the tender maiden, nor the sucking 
child being left alive ! 

Among the despairing wretches who flocked to 
the castle for protection it was impossible to single 
out the plotters, whose knavery they had themselves 
unwittingly disclosed in the Whispering Bocks, for 
everyone apparently was in the same evil case. A 
close watch, however, was kept on all the men 
who came in, and who were retained within the 
walls to help in the defence, while the women and 
children were conveyed to Clare Island, where they 
would be in safety. 

Don Francisco dropped a half hint that Eva 
might better be sent to Clare Island until the 
fortune of battle had declared itself, but I knew 
that this would seem to her to be of the nature of 
deserting us at a time of crisis, and so the propo- 
sition was carried no further. 

And all through the siege she moved a bright, 
winsome, and always cheerful presence, generally 
attended by the Wise Man, Teige O'Toole, who 
constituted himself her body-servant, and who, 
during this period, uttered no prophecies of evil, 
but cheered and sustained us with the certainty of 

At length, on the tenth day after my return to 
Carrickahooley, our spies came in from their lairs 



in the forests and hills with the news that the 
English army was camped two leagues away, and 
that it appeared to be the intention of its leaders 
to spend the night there. The spies described the 
army as an immense host, there being more than 
three hundred well-armed soldiers, besides a great 
swarm of the gallowgiasses of Sir Murrough 
0' Flaherty of Aughnanure, who himself had ac- 
companied the Governor. 

When I inquired eagerly if Sir Nicholas had any 
ordnance, the spies averred that they had seen none. 
And, whether the difficulty of dragging heavy pieces 
through Connaught had been found insurmountable, 
or, strong in numbers and relying on the terror in- 
spired by the name of the English, he had resolved 
to dispense with them altogether, I knew not ; but 
to my mind the absence of these engines of war 
more than made up for his superiority over us in 

Doubtless, his action in this respect was founded 
on the confidence he entertained that we were about 
to be betrayed to him by the traitors within the 
castle itself, nor could he dream that the galleries 
of the Whispering Rocks had given up his secrets 
to me. 

All that night the guard, of which I was in com- 
mand, stood to their arms upon the battlements ; 
but there was not a sound save such as ever comes 
from the sleeping earth or the never-sleeping sea. 
The morning dawned still and fair, and the sun 
rose out of the world, tinting with a fresh bloom the 



slopes of the distant hills now purpling with the 
bursting heather, and changing the thin, vaporous 
mist that lay over land and water below them, into 
one great gleaming sheen of silver. 

All that night, too, our spies lay concealed in 
the woods, and noted every movement within the 
English camp ; and now, as the day advanced, they 
came in to report that Sir Nicholas was marching 
down to the seashore. By noon he had established 
himself in and about the Abbey of Burrishoole, no 
regard being had to the sacredness of the building. 
And here he halted for the rest of the day, probably 
being greatly surprised that we had not so far offered 
any resistance to his approach. 

Now this ancient religious house stands on a 
rocky height looking across the small bay that is 
next to that on the edge of which the castle is built, 
and therefore the distance between the enemy and 
ourselves was so inconsiderable that it behoved us 
to be constantly on the alert. 

In the evening, then, when the night-watch was 
posted on the walls and about the gate, I doubled 
the number of the guard, choosing such men, and 
those chiefly from my own crew of The Cross of 
Blood, as were of proved endurance and courage. 

De Vilela had proffered his services, as my second 
in command, and I had given him charge of a picked 
company whose station was beside the gate of the 
drawbridge— that is, the gate on the landward side of 

Grace O'Malley herself saw that everything was 



disposed according to her mind before she withdrew 
to the apartments of the women in the main tower. 
But well did I know that it was not to sleep that 
she had gone. She had now attired herself in 
the mantle, leather-quilted jack, and armour of an 
Irish gentleman, and her eyes were full of the fierce 
light of battle; but, deeming it likely to increase 
the confidence of her people if they saw her retire 
according to her usual custom, she had left us 
to ourselves. 

I was leaning upon the edge of the parapet, gazing 
into the deepening darkness of the night, and musing 
on many things, when one of my officers came up, 
and informed me that anions those who had fled to 
us for refuge from the English were certain kernes 
who passionately begged to be permitted to share 
the night-watch, being consumed with zeal against 
the enemy. 

Knowing the treachery that was contemplated, 
Grace O'Malley had had all the refugees confined 
during the previous night within the buildings of 
the castle, and not suffered to go abroad except in the 
daytime, and now when I heard the request I felt 
a certainty that the men who made it could be no 
other than those whose voices I had overheard, 
and who were the traitors in the pay of the 

As it was above all things necessary they should 
have no suspicion that we had any knowledge of 
their purpose, I gave my officer an answer in an 
offhand manner, saying I would see these kernes in 



a little while, and, if I found them likely to make 
good soldiers, might add them to the guard. 

Debating with myself whether I should at once 
go and tell my mistress what I thought, and also, if 
I was correct in my surmise, what was the best way 
in which to proceed, so that the discomfiture of these 
men might be complete, the night grew apace, and 
still I had come to no decision. 

Suddenly, a slight, scarcely - seen motion — so 
slight, so scarcely-seen that it might have been 
caused by the vagrant breath of a passing breeze, 
only there was a perfect calm — seemed to the keen- 
ness of my sea-trained vision to make itself felt by 
a sort of tremulousness in that breadth of shadow 
that lay opposite me under the cold gleam of the 
stars, which I knev/ to be the side of the hill on 
which was the abbey. 

Sounds, too, there came, but so faintly that I 
could not disentangle them from the ordinary voices 
of the night. Then, as; I strained my eyes and ears, 
both sound and motion faded away as in a dream. 
I waited and watched for some minutes, but all was 
as silent as death. 

Thinking I might have been mistaken, I went 
down from the battlements, and calling to the officer 
who had spoken of the wish of the refugee kernes, 
I bade him bring them to me in a chamber that 
served as a guard-room. 

As I entered, a solitary wolf-call came howling 
through the air, and then, as the kernes came in, 
there was a second. 



The first wolf-call had startled me, for surely, with 
such a host near us, it was a strange thing for a wolf 
to be thus close at hand ; but when I heard the 
second one there was no doubt left in my mind. 
These calls were no other than the calls of human 
wolves signalling each other. 

So, bidding the men to be kept in the guard- 
room till I returned, I went to the gate, and told 
de Vilela that I conjectured the enemy was stealing 
upon us in the darkness to take us by surprise, 
expecting that their allies within our walls would 
have so contrived as to make the way easy for them, 
and I said I thought I could now put my hand on 
these very men. 

When I saw the kernes again, they affirmed that 
they were three men of the OTlahertys of Ballana- 
hinch, between whom and the O'Malleys there was 
a friendship of long-standing. Now, between these 
OTlahertys and the OTlahertys of Aughnanure there 
was a desperate family feud, and their tale was not 
lacking in plausibleness. They appeared to be very 
eager to be employed against the enemy, and im- 
plored to be sent to help to guard the gate, which 
was the weakest part of our defences. 

I replied that it was for me, and not for them, 
to say where they should be put, but that their 
prayer would be granted. As for the gate being the 
weakest part of our defences, how could they say 
that ? Whereupon they were silent. However, I had 
now determined what I was to do, so I bade them 
begone to the company of de Vilela, who had no 



difficulty in understanding that they were the knaves 
of whom I had spoken to him. 

A short time afterwards I saw the Spaniard, and 
communicated to him my plan, which was that he 
was to appear to give the kernes every opportunity 
of carrying out their designs, but, without seeming 
to do so, was not to lose sight of them for one 
moment, and that thus he would probably be in a 
position to defeat their intent. 

To speak the truth, I did not see how I could 
act in any other manner, yet I was very uneasy, and, 
as the event showed, not without reason. 

For I had been no more than back again at my 
place in the black comer of the parapet, when I 
heard a loud shouting at that angle of the wall 
next the sea, and the sound of blows. Running 
thither, I saw the dark forms of men climbing from 
ladders to the top of the wall, and the pale glitter 
of steel striking steel. 

In an instant the whole castle rang with the cries 
of the alarmed guard, as they hurried from all sides 
to the point of attack, and torches blazed out from 
the tower. The glare from these lights fell weirdly 
on the forms of our people as they pressed on to 
mount the parapet, yelling with lusty throats the 
war-cry of the O'Malleys. I stopped and looked 
down on them, and as the dancing torches flew their 
flags of red and orange flame, now this way, now 
that, I noticed among the crowd the faces of two of 
the kernes whom I had sent to de Vilela. 

To make certain I looked again. There assuredly 



they were, pushing on, and pointing to the place of 
assault, and shouting more loudly even than their 
neighbours. I asked myself why they had left the 
guard at the gate, and at once concluded that they 
must have slipped away in the confusion, for 
de Vilela was not likely to have given them 

What was their object ? 

And where was the third man ? I could only 
see two. 

There they were — the two whom I now plainly 
discovered stepping forward, apparently as keen for 
the fight as any of ourselves, making straight for the 
parapet, and helping to draw others along with them 
away from the gate of the drawbridge. 

Was that it ? 

This thought came like the quick flashing of an 
inward light, and then was succeeded by another. 

If this were so, then it followed that the attack 
we were engaged in repelling was a mere feint meant 
to deceive us, and that the real assault would be 
made — probably at the gate — while our attention was 
held elsewhere. In any case there were sufficient, as 
I conceived, of our gallowglasses now upon the walls 
to beat back the enemy, and I hastened toward the 

As I moved forward I was met by de Vilela and 
most of his company, and when I stopped and asked 
him why he had quitted his post, he replied that it 
was in obedience to a request from me which he had 
just received. Now, I had sent no such request, and 



the fear which had sprung up within me was at once 
confirmed, as it was evident that he had been duped 
by a false message, the result being that the gate 
was left nearly unprotected. 

" Come with me," I said, at the same time telling 
him quickly how the matter stood, and of the dread 
that possessed me. Such of our men as I encoun- 
tered on the way I also bade turn about and follow 
me. Nor were we a moment too soon. 

Drawing nearer, Ave could hear the rattle and 
the clank of the heavy chains of the drawbridge as 
it was being lowered, and the creaking of the 
ponderous gate as it swung inwards on its heavy 
hinges. The flames of torches blazing from the wide 
doorway of the main tower flashed upon the steel 
jacks and the gauntlets of English soldiers, dim- 
flitting in the half-gloom of the opening mouth oi 
the gate. 

The traitor had done his work and had done it 
well ; yet it passes me, even to this day, to understand 
how he had been able to accomplish his end thus 
so swiftly and thoroughly. 

" O'Malley ! O'Malley ! " I cried in a great voice 
that rang out far above all the din and disorder of 
the night, so that it reached the ear of my princess, 
who now came hurrying on along with some of the 
gentlemen of her household and a body of swordsmen. 

" O'Malley ! O'Malley ! " 

Behind me the pure deep tones of my mistress's 
cry mingled with the hoarse, harsh accents of her 



"O'Malley ! O'Malley!" 

Fierce and terrible beyond all power of words 
to express was the hardly human cry. 

With a couple of bounds I had reached our foes. 
The glimmer of a sword passed by me, and I parried 
the point of a spear thrust at my breast. Then I felt 
my knees gripped, and I tripped over upon the body 
of the man who held me. As I stumbled, my weapon 
falling from my hand, I caught a glimpse of de Vilela 
standing over me, his long sword playing like light- 
ning, holding the enemy in check. 

There was a rush of feet, and across me and the 
man beneath me, as across a wall, did the battle rage. 

I had fallen with my whole weight upon the man 
who had seized my legs, and I heard him gasp and 
sob and try for breath as he lay underneath. 

As I felt along his form for his throat, I noticed 
that he wore no armour, and my fingers became as 
steel when I realised that this was no other, could be 
no other, than the traitor who had opened the gate. 
Whoever or whatever he was, his secret died with 
him there, for I did not relax my grasp upon his 
neck until I was well assured that I had twisted 
and broken it. 

And when in the morning we found the body 
amongst a heap of slain, it was trampled out of 
all semblance of human shape, but not so as not 
to show the sign of the broken neck. 

How I managed to roll myself out of that press 
and coil I cannot tell, but yet somehow I did it, 
and all the while I was strangely conscious that 




de Vilela's sword watched and warded over me, so 
that I escaped with my life. This affair of mine took 
not so long in the doing as in the telling of it, and 
when I had struggled to my feet he was in front 
of me — " Santiago ! Santiago ! " on his lips, as that 
long sword of his sang its songs of death. Plucking 
my battle-axe from my girdle I stepped to his side. 

And now about us were my mistress and her fiery 
swordsmen, mad with rage and thirsting for blood. 
With wild screams we fell upon and fought back the 
Englishmen, who stubbornly contested every foot 
of ground, until we hurled them broken across the 
bridge, pursuing them for some distance beyond the 
castle. Then, facing round, we attacked from the 
rear those who had attempted to enter by scaling 
the walls ; and perhaps some escaped in the darkness, 
but of those who were seen by us not one was spared. 

So, favourably for us, our first fight with the 
English came to a close. 




During what of the night remained we continued 
under arms, expecting that the attack might be 
renewed, but the morning — another sunny splendour 
— came, and we were undisturbed. We were now in 
a better position to estimate what had occurred, and 
the peril from which we had so narrowly escaped. 

The number of our dead and wounded was not 
great, but among the latter was Fitzgerald, who had 
been by the side of Grace O'Malley in the fight for 
the gate. Eva O'Malley, along with Teige O'Toole, 
the Wise Man, who was also a mediciner, and skilled 
in the use of herbs and simples, ministered to the 
wants and relieved the pangs of the sufferers, as far as 
lay within her power. 

And as she passed in and out among them, her 
passing seemed to me, and to others I doubt not, as 
the passing of an angel. My mistress and de Vilela 
were unhurt, and I had nothing more than some 
bruises to show for my share in the battle. 

Neither among the killed nor the wounded could 
the two traitorous kernes be seen, and I feared that 
they had contrived to make good their flight, a 
thing which did not appear improbable considering 
the darkness and confusion of an assault by night. 
m 2 



However, I had every portion of the castle searched 
and scrutinised with the utmost care, and finally the 
knaves were found hiding in a storeroom, which held 
a large quantity of loose corn, and there, amongst the 
grain, they were discovered nearly suffocated. 

They had deserved no mercy and they were shown 
none. Desirous of knowing who the}^ in reality were, 
and of obtaining any information they possessed of 
the purposes of the Governor, I ordered that they 
should be taken into one of the underground 
dungeons, and put to the question. 

But they were stout of heart, being, as I think, no 
common men, so that torture even failed to worry 
their secrets from them. When Grace O'Malley 
heard that they could be forced to disclose nothing, 
she directed that they should be taken and hanged 
from a great gallows-beam, that sprang out from the 
summit of the tower, and which could be plainly 
descried by the English from Burrishoole. 

No sooner had the fight for the gate come to an 
end, than I became greatly disturbed in my mind as 
to the debt I felt myself to be owing to de Vilela, for, 
had it not been for that marvellous sword-play of his 
I had never come out of the fray alive. 

That was the kind of debt in payment of which a 
man might almost give his all, even life itself. In 
what way was I to discharge it ? I consoled myself 
with the thought that the chances of warfare might 
provide me with the opportunity, but if not — what 
then ? 

The matter lay heavy upon me, and that Don 



Francisco was iny rival for Eva's love, and, as I was 
more than half disposed to imagine, my successful 
rival did not make the burden of it the lighter to 
bear. But one thing I could do, and that, the 
business of the perfidious knaves being despatched, 
I did. I sought him out, and, offering him my hand, 
thanked him with such words as flowed from a full, if 
troubled breast, for the great service he had done me. 

" Senor," said I impulsively, " I believe that I am 
indebted to you for the greatest service one man can 
render another." 

His attitude was that of protest, nay, of entreaty, 
that I should say no more. 

Now I have written to little purpose if I have not 
made it evident that de Vilela was my superior in 
every way save with respect to my strength of body, 
which was the one special gift God had given me. I 
had acknowledged the fact to myself, although, being 
human, not perhaps ungrudgingly. As I looked into 
his face, whatever poor, paltry feeling I had nourished 
against him was swept away by a wave of strong 

" Yes, senor," said I, " how am I to thank you ? 
But for you — I would have perished. What am I to 
say ? What can I do ? " 

"Senor Ruari," cried he, in that soft, quiet way 
of his, " between soldiers, brothers-in-arms, there is 
no debt." 

" Senor," said I 

" Be generous, Senor Ruari/' exclaimed he, " and 
say not a word more," and he smiled somewhat 



wistfully and sadly. "We are friends, at any rate, 
whate'er befall, are we not ? " 

" By God's wounds ! " swore I. 

And we clasped hands again, and so parted. 

The day which followed that night of stir was one 
of quiet at the castle, and its very peacefulness seemed 
to me well-nigh intolerable. But we learned from 
our spies, and could to some extent see for ourselves, 
that there was a great commotion in the English 
camp, indicating the arrival of fresh troops. 

By the evening, Sir Nicholas had so disposed his 
forces that Ave were completely hemmed in on the 
land side, and our spies had to be withdrawn within 
the walls. The sea was still open to us, and much I 
wondered that the Governor did not take this more 
into his account, for so long as we could get to our 
galleys and procure food by way of Clew Bay, we 
could laugh at him and bid him defiance. 

But I might have been sure that Sir Nicholas was 
too experienced a soldier not to know well what he 
was about. 

Another night and another day dragged them- 
selves slowly away, and the Governor moved not from 
the positions he had taken up. There he lay all 
round us, just out of reach of our ordnance, of which 
we gave him a taste from time to time, so that he 
should keep his distance ; there he lay, inactive, 
waiting, expectant — but of what, or, of whom ? 

These were the questions Grace O'Malley dis- 
cussed with de Vilela and myself, and the answers to 
them did not present themselves at once. 



H Can it be," asked my mistress — and her words 
showed the direction in which her thoughts were 
turning " that Sir Nicholas has heard Richard Burke 
is coming with all the men of Mayo behind him to 
our aid, and that he has decided to engage him 
before attacking us ? " 

" He is perhaps making some engines with which 
he hopes to batter down your walls," said de Vilela. 

" Our ordnance will prevent that," said I. 

" I think the Governor must himself expect to 
receive ordnance from some quarter," said de Vilela, 
" otherwise the success of the siege he must know is 

Grace O'Malley and I looked at each other, the 
same thought in our minds. There was only the one 
way by which there was any probability of his obtain- 
ing heavy pieces, and that was over sea. 

Did Sir Nicholas reckon on the support of a 
heavy ship of war, and was he now quietly looking for 
its arrival ? Had he foreseen, or, at least, provided 
against the failure of the plot of the kernes ? 

That seemed very likely, and the more I thought 
of it the more likely did it seem. I now realised, as I 
had not done before, the seriousness of our situation. 

" That must be it," said Grace O'Malley. " That 
must be it. He is not a man given to slackness, but 
he is perfectly aware that he can now effect nothing 
unless he has cannon, and so he tarries until his 
ordnance comes. Doubtless he has arranged that a 
war-vessel shall meet him here, and, if that is how 
the matter stands, it may arrive very soon." 



" What you have conjectured/ 5 said de Vilela, 
u will, I think, prove to be correct." And I also said 
that her words expressed my own opinion. 

Now, the three great galleys lay in the harbour 
at Clare Island, and as Grace O'Malley had with- 
drawn most of their crews they were without suffi- 
cient defenders, and might be easily taken and 

" The galleys must at once be brought over here," 
said she with decision to me, "or better still, if it 
be not too late, sailed into Achill Sound, and hidden 
away in one of its many bays. This very night, as 
soon as the darkness has fallen, you, Ruari, must take 
as many men as can be got into the boats we have 
here, and make for Clare Island with all speed. 
When you have reached the island, do with the 
galleys as seems best to you." 

Accordingly, when the shadows of night had over- 
spread the land and the sea, I set about to fulfil 
her behest. The day-breeze had died away, and the 
waters were calm and tranquil as we pulled out from 
the castle. Rowing steadily and strongly along the 
north shore of Clew Bay, the sound of our oars alone 
breaking the silence, we held on until we arrived 
at Clare Island, where I was overjoyed to find our 
ships riding at anchor in the peaceful security of the 

And there, partly to rest my weary men, and 
partly because I could see no reason for any 
immediate action, I resolved to lie still till dawn. 

I had hardly, as it appeared to me, laid myself 



down to sleep in my cabin on The Cross of Blood, 
though some hours had passed, when I was aroused 
by Calvagh O'Halloran, who had been left in charge 
of the galleys, with the tidings that the watchers 
he had placed on Knockmore had come down from 
the hill with the intelligence that they had seen, 
in the first light of the morning, the tops of the masts 
of a large ship coming up, faint and dim, on the 
south against the sky. 

Springing from my couch, I bade Calvagh get 
the galleys ready to put to sea, and while this was 
being done I went ashore, and, climbing the slope 
of Knockmore with swift steps, gazed seaward at the 
approaching vessel. 

At first I was inclined to hesitate as to what to 
make of her, but as I looked, and as she kept coming 
on into fuller view, any doubt I entertained was set 
at rest. 

There was a bright flashing of flame, then a heavy 
boom from one of her ports, succeeded by three shots 
fired in rapid succession. 

I concluded that she was still too far out at sea 
for her commander to have intended these for any- 
thing but signals, and therefore I continued to stand 
watching her, my purpose being to discover if she 
intended to make for Clare Island or would hold 
on towards the mainland. 

This took some time, for, as the breeze was off 
the shore and against the tide, she sailed very slowly. 
At length it became apparent that she was to 
endeavour to go on to Burrishoole or Carrickahooley, 



and so would have Clare Island well on her left, for, 
as she passed the Point of Roonah, she was swung 
around between us and the coast. 

I could tell from her movements that her captain 
was far from being certain where the channel lay 
among the islands that stud all the eastern side of 
Clew Bay ; and, indeed, it takes a man who knows 
these parts more than well to steer a ship of middling 
tonnage safely through the rocks and shoals into the 
fairway by Illamore. I felt confident that it would 
be many hours before he could reach his destination, 
and this put into my mind to attempt to carry 
out a project which had occurred to me, and which 
might prevent him from ever reaching it at all. 

The project was of a somewhat desperate nature, 
and if it resulted in failure then in all likelihood 
there would be an end so far as regards The Cross of 
Blood and its company ; but if success should favour 
our enterprise, we might compel Sir Nicholas to raise 
the siege before it was well begun, and so bring 
the war to a close for the present by his retreat. 

As I was weighing the chances both for and 
against us, there sounded forth from the English 
ship-of-war a single loud report, and shortly after- 
wards three shots were fired — -a repetition, in fact, 
of the former signal. This acted on me like the 
pricking of a spear on a charger. 

What I had in view was nothing less than the 
wreck of the enemy's vessel. 

When I had regained the deck of my galley 
the anchor was weighed, and we put out into the bay, 



leaving The Grey Wolf and The Winged Horse in 
the harbour, with orders to follow us on the next tide. 

Summoning Calvagh to my side, I unfolded to 
him the course I thought of pursuing, and as much 
would depend on the stoutness and endurance of 
our rowers, I enjoined on him to exhort them to be 
steadfast, and not to be thrown into a fury and a 
frenzy of excitement even when they heard the 
shots of the Englishman roaring past their ears and 
we seemed to be going to certain destruction. 

They were not to abandon their places at the 
benches unless The Cross of Blood should be so 
damaged by the enemy as to appear to be in a 
sinking condition. Should that disaster be imminent, 
then, and only then, would it become a case of 
each man for himself. 

I judged it to be needful to give these instruc- 
tions because, while I could trust everyone of my 
men where a matter of fighting was concerned, I was 
not so sure that when it came to our running away 
— and that was the very soul of my scheme — they 
would do as I wished with an equal heart. For 
they were of the temper in which it is easier to fight 
and die than to flee and live. 

As we drew out from Clare Island the English 
ship was about two miles in front of us, with her 
bows pointing for the south side of Illamore, between 
which and the rocky islets opposite it there is a clear 
span of water, but before she could come abreast of 
Illamore there was a distance of a couple of leagues 
of open sea. 



She went along lumberingly, and the galley, 
bounding forward like a racer under the swift, 
measured swing of the oars, had the speed of her, 
and began to come up with her rapidly. When 
we were within a mile of her, and Illamore perchance 
a league away, I shifted my course and bore off to 
the north. 

The galley had no doubt been seen by the 
Englishmen as soon as we had emerged from Clare 
Island ; and now, when they perceived that we were 
heading away from them and going north, they 
fetched about and came round after us. 

Would their captain give chase, or would he 
content himself with noting whither we went and 
following us for a time and then turning about 
again ? I had felt certain from the beginning that 
he had no pilot on board, for where were there any 
people who knew Clew Bay but ourselves ? And 
sure was I that no O'Malley would ever guide a 
hostile ship through these waters. 

What I feared was that the Englishman might 
pursue us for two or three miles, and then, seeing 
how thick the islands were in that part of the bay 
and how narrow the channels between them, might 
be deterred from proceeding further in our direction, 
and therefore stand off again for the other side of 
Illamore, as had been his purpose at first. 

As I was determined to draw him on at all 
hazards, I made a sign to Calvagh, at whose word 
our oarsmen ceased pulling their great sweeping 
strokes, and made no more than a pretence of rowing, 



so as only to keep steering- way on The Gross of Blood, 
and to deceive the Englishman into imagining that 
he was catching her up, as indeed he was, though 
not as he understood the matter. 

On he came, as I had hoped, the gap between 
us growing less, until a ball fired from his bows 
fell so near as to warn me that we were within range 
of his guns. 

The English vessel was a heavity armed ship, her 
sides bristling with large pieces of ordnance, and it 
would have required not more than a few of her 
shots, had they struck the galley, to send her to the 
bottom. And as there were but two falconets on 
The Gross of Blood, her other cannon having been 
removed from her to the walls of the castle, we were 
not able to reply to the enemy's fire with any effect. 
But it was not my intention to use these falconets, 
except to lure him into that trap I was setting for 

Therefore I shouted to Calvagh, and the galley 
plunged forward again under the strong, full beat 
of the racing oars as he ran up and down between 
the rowers commanding them to pull for their 
lives. We could hear the cheering and the laughter 
on board the Englishman as he watched what he 
took to be our frantic efforts to escape. 

And, in truth, we had put on this burst of 
speed none too soon, for the shots now sent after 
us fell so little short of our stern that I was afraid 
we were lost. But the peril passed, and we quickly 
drew away. 



And thus for two miles or more the pursuit 
of us went on, the Englishman coming up with us 
and discharging his pieces at us as we slacked off 
rowing, and then falling behind us as the oarsman 
drove the galley on again. I repeated this manoeuvre* 
several times, and once only had a ball struck The 
Cross of Blood y but, as fortune would have it, without 
inflicting any serious injury upon us. 

Now that the supreme moment was almost at 
hand I became conscious of a singular tumult, a 
very fever in my veins, and that at a time when 
I desired above all things to be calm and self- 

I was standing by the helmsman as he steered, 
and, as I turned to give him the direction, I could 
see in the pallor that showed beneath the brown 
of his skin, in the fixedly gleaming eyes, in the 
shut lips that had no colour about them, in the 
whole tense attitude of the man, the visible expres- 
sion of my own feelings. 

For there before us lay the islands; all shapes 
and sizes were they, some grim and bare, others 
green and fair to see ; island upon island, one crowd- 
ing upon the other, as it were, like a wide range 
of low hills. 

Immediately in front of us a grey, craggy rock 
reared its head; on one side of it was a small, 
round islet, a shining girdle of spray half hiding 
it, on the other, separated from it by a narrow 
passage, a great rampart of black cliffs, on whose 
heights the eagles loved to build, towered aloft 



into the sky, the waves rolling themselves in empty 
thunders at its feet. 

Beyond this passage was seen a spacious land- 
locked bay as it appeared to be, so closed in did 
it seem on all sides by islands. And through this 
passage did I give command to go. 

There was a mute protest in the look the 
helmsman gave me, for this passage is none other 
than that called the Gate of Fears, and no mariner 
ever makes use of it save from direst necessity 
and with many crossings of himself and murmured 
vows. But the galley made a half-turn obedient 
to the helmsman's hand, and so was headed for 
the dreaded Gate. 

The Englishman was at our heels, bent upon 
our capture or destruction, but when he saw us 
approach this passage he hesitated, and was like 
to draw back. Whereupon I ordered Calvagh to 
bid the oarsmen stop rowing, and bringing the 
falconets into position trained them on the enemy, 
myself putting the blazing torch to the touch-hole. 

At the same time our sailors sent up a loud 
taunting, derisive cry, which was answered back 
full-throated by the English ship. Provoked beyond 
endurance at us, and thinking, it might be, that 
where a large galley like The Cross of Blood might 
go she might venture also, she again came on at 
us, firing as she came. 

I had to endure an agony of suspense, for there 
was still time for two things to happen, either of 
which would be fatal to my purpose. 



Until the English commander had fairly entered 

the Gate of Fears, and so would be forced to go 
on, he might hold off after all. That was the first. 
And to tempt him on I had to keep the galley 
so close to the range of his ordnance that it was 
very probable that he might hit and sink her. 
That was the second. 

He had, however, made up his mind that we 
were within his grasp, and had determined to have 
us. As he came slowly nearer, our oarsmen sent 
the galley on through the passage, and on he moved 
after us. 

There was now a lull in his cannonading, and 
a strange silence fell upon us all. In that silence 
I waited anxiously, a prey to mingled doubts and 
fears, expecting to hear a slight grating, scraping 
sound, and to see the galley shiver and quake as 
she passed over the knife-edges of rocks that lie a 
few feet below the surface of the sea at the further 
end of the Gate. The tide was high, as I had 
reckoned, else I never would have attempted it. 

Then there was a sudden tempest of smoke and 
flame from the Englishman, in the midst of which 
The Gross of Blood swayed and reeled as if she had 
been struck. I sickened with apprehension, but 
the swaying and the reeling quickly ceased. We 
were safely over the jagged barrier of rock ; we had 
passed through the Gate, and were in the deep water 

Below me I could see Calvagh's white, set face 
as he looked up; then, as he realised that we were 



out of the dangers of the passage, a war chant broke 
from his fierce lips, the oarsmen rowing mightily, 
and keeping time to that savage, deep-chested music 
of his. 

And on behind us came the unwitting English- 

In a few minutes more, looking towards her, I 
saw her bows tilt up and then plunge high into the 
air. She was lifted up and dashed down again 
and again on the rocks, so that her back broke, 
and she was torn to pieces before my eyes, while 
some of her sailors cast themselves into the water, 
with outcries and bewailings very piteous to hear, 
and others got into the ship's boats and put out 
to sea, where I know not what fate overtook them. 

My men clamoured that they should be pursued, 
but this I would not suffer, for my end was attained, 
as Sir Nicholas now would have no ordnance for 
the battering down of the walls of Carrickahooley, 
and must therefore raise the siege. 





Perchance it was that my spirits had been affected 
by the sinking of this fine ship, even though I myself 
had been the cause of the same — the loss of a 
vessel, I cannot help saying, being a thing more to 
be deplored than the deaths of many human beings ; 
or it may have been that my mind, now the 
necessity for prompt and decisive action had passed, 
became, as it were, relaxed and unstrung; but, as 
The Cross of Blood threaded her way through the 
maze of the islands towards Carrickahooley, I could 
think of nothing save of how I stood in the debt 
of de Vilela. 

In vain I strove to comfort myself by recalling 
the successes and the victories that had been 
achieved by and in the name of my mistress, 
Grace O'Malley, and by telling myself that she had 
won for herself and us an imperishable renown. 
Not thus could I silence the voice of my heart, 
which cried out that all these were but as barren- 
ness and as nothingness so long as Eva O'Malley 
was not for me. For there was the pain, there the 
grief and the sadness. 

Against myself did I consider myself called upon 
to fight. I was as deep in the Spaniard's debt as 



a man could be, and yet I could not bring myself 
to resign all hopes of my dear, even to de Vilela, 
without the bitterest struggles. 

Which of us twain possessed the maid's love ? 
Was it de Vilela, or was it I ? Did she love either 
of us ? — that was the all-important question. For 
myself, my love had grown with my growth, was, I 
felt, growing still, and would keep on growing as 
long as I lived. 

De Vilela, however, was a stranger, blown in 
upon us, as it were, by the chance winds of heaven. 
My claim was perhaps the better claim, but a maid's 
heart acknowledges no real claim but the claim of 
her love, and if her heart's love was de Vilela's, 
then was my claim void and empty indeed. 

Therefore, let the maid decide. My thoughts 
had worked round to this point, when I remem- 
bered once more what Grace O'Malley had said 
about the Don and Eva. What if Eva loved me 
after all ? Again, Let the maid decide, said I. 

Yet, somehow, this did not altogether satisfy me. 
Then it occurred to me that I might pay a part 
of my debt to de Vilela in the following way. 

He could scarcely tarry much longer with us at 
the castle, as he must soon depart to endeavour to 
carry out the objects of the secret mission with 
which he had been entrusted by his master, the 
King of Spain. The way for him would be clear 
and open, for I had no doubt that Sir Nicholas 
would not now be able to continue the siege, and 
that we would be left in peace and quiet till the 
* 2 



spring of the next year, when the war would most 
probably be renewed against us with larger forces, 
and with greater determination, both by land 
and sea. But all that lay in the womb of the 

As for Don Francisco, I thought it likely that 
he would try to make the most of the time 
that remained to him before setting out for the 
Earl of Desmond's, that he would ask for Eva's 
hand from Grace O'Malley, and that thus the 
matter would be determined. What I set myself 
to do was, so long as he remained at Carrickahooley, 
to keep out of Eva's presence, and in a manner, as 
it were, to leave the field to de Yilela. 

If the maid loved him, I was out of court ; if 
she loved me, she would tell her foster-sister that 
she could not accept the offer of the Spaniard ; if 
she cared for neither of us, or w r avered between us, 
then I was resolved to forego whatever advantage 
I possessed over de Yilela until he had received 
his answer and had taken his departure. 

If she accepted his suit, they would be married, 
I supposed drearily, before he left, and then they 
would set out together, and that which was un- 
utterably and unalterably rare, dear, and precious 
would be gone out of my life. If Eva willed other- 
wise — it all rested with her. But, in any case, de 
Vilela was to have his chance free from any mean 
or unmannerly interference from me. 

Little did I guess how severely the strength 
of my resolution was to be tested, but I thank 



God, now that all is done, that it bore the 

It was not much past the middle of the day 
when The Cross of Blood drew up at Carrickahooley, 
but long before we had reached the castle we could 
hear the sounds of battle rolling towards us from 
off the land, and could see the tiny clouds of 
smoke made by the arquebuses as they were fired 

Disembarking with all haste, and bringing with 
me most of my crew, I was instantly admitted 
within the water-gate. There I was told that 
Grace O'Malley, with de Vilela, her gentlemen, 
and most of her people, was making a sally on 
the English. 

Rushing to the parapets, I could see that the 
centre of the fighting was between the castle and 
the Abbey of Burrishoole, and that it was of a very 
terrible and bloody character, the Englishmen dis- 
playing that dogged courage for which they are 
famed, while the Irish, inspired by their mistress, 
performed wonderful feats of valour, and were 
thrusting their enemies slowly back to their prin- 
cipal position, where, however, their further retreat 
was speedily checked on their being strengthened 
by fresh supports. 

Now the purpose of Grace O'Malley in this 
outfall could not have extended beyond inflicting 
upon the Governor considerable loss, as she knew 
his force was far superior to her own in numbers; 
and I was therefore not surprised to witness the 



Irish at this juncture beginning to retreat, the 
English attacking them fiercely in front and on 
their flanks. 

It was at this instant that Sir Nicholas, who 
was himself directing the operations of his troops, 
conceived that he might cut our people off alto- 
gether from the castle by sending forward some 
soldiers he had held as a reserve, and placing 
them between the Irish and the castle. 

I could see all this quite plainly from the walls? 
and, fearing lest he might succeed, I summoned my 
men, and, issuing from the castle gate, marched to 
meet this new body of the enemy, in order, if so be 
I was in time, to defeat the attempt, which, if well 
carried out, could not but be attended with the 
greatest possible danger, and perhaps disaster, to my 

Being delayed by the roughness of the ground 
from coming up as quickly as I could have wished, 
and as they had the start of us, the English had 
effected their purpose, and the Irish were sur- 

But, as we ran forward, some of the enemy faced 
about to meet us, and so, being taken, as it were, 
between two fires — Grace O'Malley with her men on 
the one side, and I with mine on the other — they 
w^ere speedily thrown into the utmost confusion, of 
which we did not fail to make a good account. 
Still the contest was by no means entirely in our 
favour, for the resistance of the Governor's soldiers 
was protracted and bitter, each man contending for 



his own hand with all the strength and cunning he 
was possessed of. 

At length the main body of the Irish under 
Grace O'Malley fought their way through the enemy 
and joined themselves to us, my mistress being both 
surprised and rejoiced to find that we had returned, 
and had been able to come to her assistance. Beside 
her, their swords gleaming redly in their hands, were 
Brian Ogue, and Art, and Henry O'Malley, and the 
other gentlemen of her household ; and leaning upon 
the arm of one of them, and supported and pro- 
tected by two men, I beheld de Vilela, desperately 
wounded ! 

His face was pale, drawn, deep-lined, and spotted 
with blood, the eyes being closed, and the lips shut 
tight; the figure within his armour was bent with 
weariness, and weakness, and wounds ; the fingers of 
the right hand still grasped the handle of his sword, 
but they shook and trembled as with palsy. Truly, 
he looked like one whose doom is sealed, and my 
heart went out to him with a great compassion. 

Calling to four of my men, who were armed 
with spears, I caused them to make a rough litter 
with their weapons, and upon this rude but soldierly 
contrivance we laid the Spaniard, and so bore him 
to the castle, while behind us the fight still con- 
tinued, but with less and less fierceness. 

Not a sound came from Don Francisco, although 
the jolting must have given him the most intense 
pain, save once when m}' mistress took his hand 
and spoke to him, when he made reply in Spanish 



that "all was well" with him. And I thought the 
words were not unworthy, but well became the brave 
soul of the man. 

" I will go in with him," said Grace O'Malley 
to me, when we had arrived at the gate; "Ruari, 
do you gather our people together, and lead them 
within the walls." 

And I did her bidding, so that in a short time 
I had them collected in a compact body, and under 
cover of the ordnance, belching forth from the 
battlements, retreated within the gate, bearing most 
of our wounded with us. There I found Grace 
O'Malley waiting to hear the news I had brought. 

"De Vilela?" I first inquired. 

" He is still alive," said she, " but I fear the hour 
of his passing is already upon him." 

" Tore God," cried I, with a sob in my throat, " I 
trust not." 

" Eva tends him," said she — and in a flash I 
remembered everything. 

" He is in good keeping," said I. 

" He is in the hands of God," said she, in a voice 
and manner so touched with unwonted solemnity and 
deep feeling that I gazed at her in amazement. 

Then a wild thought came to me: could she, 
did she, our princess, care for this man ? But no 
sooner had the thought arisen in my mind than 
I dismissed it. * What have I to do with love ? " 
she had said on a former occasion, and she had 
meant it. 

Her next words, however, appeared to give point 



to my suspicion, but when I considered them more 
carefully, I saw I was wrong. For what she had 
said was, "There are few men like Don Francisco," 
but the tone in which they were spoken was not 
that, it seemed to mQ, of a woman who loves ; rather 
was it that of one who deplores the expected loss 
of a dear friend. Yet sometimes, in the silent 
watches of the night, have I wondered — and I 
wonder still. 

"We have heard the roar of great guns from 
time to time this morning," said she, changing the 
subject abruptly, " and, knowing that you had no 
ordnance to speak of, I feared for your safety. Tell 
me what has happened." 

Whereupon I related all that had taken place, 
and how that the English war-vessel had been dashed 
to pieces on the rocks at the hither end of the Gate 
of Fears. 

Much I spoke in praise of Calvagh and the rowers 
of The Cross of Blood, and said that it was fitting 
they should be given a rich reward, for, notwith- 
standing the terrors inspired in all seafaring men 
by the place, and in spite of the ordnance of the 
Englishman making the passage like the mouth of 
hell, they had stood fast every one. 

" And what of yourself ? " cried she, between 
smiles and tears. " What of yourself, my Ruari ? " 

And she took from the mantle upon her shoulder 
a brooch of gold, with mystic signs, of which I knew 
not the meaning, engraved upon it, and in the midst 
of it a sapphire, with the deep blue in it of the 



unfathonied abysses of the sea. This she handed to 
me, one of her arms about my neck, and I was 
uplifted with pride, albeit there was some shame 
mixed with it too. But the gift I compelled my- 
self to decline. 

" I may not take it" cried I ; for the brooch was 
one of the tokens of her chieftainship to her people, 
and firmly resolved was I that there, in the land of 
her fathers, no man should ever have the slightest 
cause to think there was any other chief save her, 
and her alone. But if I took the brooch — " No," said 
I ; " I may not take it." 

Then, seeing I was determined, she sighed, said 
no more, but kissed me on the cheek — a thing she 
had not done since I was a little child, playing with 
her, a child too, on the sands of the shores of Clew 

Thereafter together we went into the chamber of 
the main tower where de Vilela had been laid. 
There by his couch was my dear, a presence soft, 
tender, and full of sweet womanly pity and of the 
delicate ministries that spring from it. There upon 
the couch lay the wreck of a man ; so calm, so pale, 
so worn, that he looked like one dead. 

" He still breathes," said Eva, in a whisper. 

Perhaps it was the result of the conversation I 
had just had with Grace O'Malley, or it may have 
been the subtle influence of that scene, with that 
quiet figure stretched upon the couch for its centre, 
but there was no bitterness in my breast when 
I saw Eva there. Who, indeed, could have felt 



any other emotion at such a time but that of 
sorrow ? 

For two days de Vilela hung between life and 
death. More than once did it seem that his spirit 
had left his shattered body, and yet it did not. On 
the third day the Spaniard rallied; Teige O'Toole, 
our physician, declared that there was hope; and 
from that instant Don Francisco began slowly to 

All within the castle rejoiced, and I as much as 
any; but when I saw how constantly Eva was with 
him, and how the sick man was restless and uneasy 
in her brief absences from his side, and how she 
watched over and soothed and tended him, her mere 
presence being a better restorative than all the 
healing simples of Teige O'Toole, is it to be 
marvelled at that I found the determination I had 
come to of leaving the field open to him, and of 
withdrawing from it, become more and more difficult 
to maintain ? 

Neither did Sir Nicholas nor his army help 
greatly to distract my thoughts. For there, outside 
our walls, at a safe distance from our cannon, did 
the Governor lie day after day for a long week, 
waiting, doubtless, for the warship that never came. 

We did not, on our side, stir out of the castle, 
for whatever advantage, if any, had been reaped from 
the sally had been purchased at too heavy a price. 
Grace O'Malley rightly had come to the conclusion 
that we had everything to gain by sitting still, and 
that Sir Nicholas, seeing that he could do nothing 



against us without ordnance, would soon grow tired 
of this futile business, and so go back to Galway. 

Whether he had heard in some way that the 
vessel he had expected had been wrecked, or feared 
that events had happened which had prevented it 
from being sent at all by Winter, the English 
Admiral, I know not ; but one night he stole away 
from Burrishoole, and when the morning was come, 
lo, there was not an Englishman anywhere to be seen. 

It was an unfortunate coincidence in one respect 
that the very morning which saw the siege raised 
should also have witnessed the arrival of Richard 
Burke, attended by fifty horsemen and more than 
a hundred gallowglasses, for if we could have counted 
on such a number of fighting men in addition to 
our own, we should certainly have again attacked the 
Governor's forces and not stood so much upon our 

But in another respect it fell out luckily enough 
for us, and this was that we might now pursue 
him with some hope of overtaking him, and of 
stopping him from plundering the country, owing to 
the assistance of the Burkes. There was nothing 
more certain than that Sir Nicholas, as he retreated 
towards Galway, would drive before him all the 
cattle and horses of the land, and thus he would, 
after all, unless prevented, gather an enormous spoil, 
depriving us, and those who looked to us for 
protection, of a great part of our wealth. And 
already he had done us a vast amount of injury 
and harm. 



So soon, therefore, as Kichard Burke, who was 
sorely disappointed that he had not reached Carrick- 
ahooley sooner, had come into the castle, and had 
been received and entertained by my mistress, from 
whom he heard a narrative of what had recently 
occurred, Grace O'Malley proposed that he and I 
should set out with a large force to endeavour to 
recover from the English the plunder they were 
taking away. And to this the Mac William gladly 
assented, observing that no proposal could please 
him better than to take part in getting back her 
property for her. 

"And," continued he, "as it is impossible for 
Sir Nicholas to move quickly, hampered as he 
must be with many herds of cattle and bands of 
horses, we can catch him up before he has gone 
very far." 

"You will also have many opportunities/' said 
Grace O'Malley, " of which I am sure you will not 
fail to make the most, of coming upon detached 
bodies of his troops as they struggle through the 
thick forests and the passes of the mountains, and 
of cutting them off. You can harass and harry him 
nearly every step of his retreat, so that when he at 
length reaches Galway it will be with greatly lessened 
forces, and with so slender a spoil that he will not 
care to boast of it." 

" You would not offer him battle ? " asked I. 

" You must be the judges of that for yourselves," 
said she ; " but Sir Nicholas is a fine soldier, and as 
wary as a fox in warfare, and I think you can do him 



far more deadly hurt by acting as I have said. You 
will risk but little, and may gain much." 

Then Grace O'Malley and Richard Burke began 
talking of what prospect there was of a general rising 
of the Irish against the Queen, and of the help that 
might be looked for from Philip of Spain, and of 
other matters, some of which, I suspect, lay even 
nearer the heart of one of them, at least. 

But of this I cannot tell, for when they com- 
menced to speak of affairs of State I went out from 
the hall in which they were, to get my men in 
readiness to pursue the English. And welcome to 
me was it that our expedition, and its hard service, 
held out the promise of drawing off my thoughts 
from Eva and de Vilela. 

I was eager that we should make a start at once, 
but the Burkes were weary and footsore with their 
long, toilsome journey. For that day, then, they 
rested, Grace O'Malley giving them and all in the 
castle a great feast, filling them with food and wine, 
while her harpers stirred their souls with songs of 
the mighty deeds done by the mighty dead. 

Songs, too, they made to music now sweet, now 
fierce, in honour of my mistress, acclaiming her as 
not the least in the long list of a line of heroes ! 
Whereupon the castle rang with tumultuous shout- 
ings of applause. Then the minstrels cunningly 
turned their themes to the Burkes of Mayo, English 
once, but Irish now — ay, even more Irish than the 
Irish themselves. 

And so the day passed. 



In the morning we left Carrickahooley with a 
hundred horsemen and a hundred running footmen, 
besides horse-boys and others. Behind us came 
many of the fugitives who had come to us flee- 
ing from before the English, and who now were 
returning to their homes, or to what poor, charred 
remains of them might be found. 

As we moved swiftly on, we saw many evidences 
of the havoc wrought by the ruthless invaders ; here 
the hut of the wood-kerne, who lives by hunting, 
there the hovel of the churl, who tills the fields, 
burnt to the ground ; while over all brooded the 
silence of desolation and death. 

It was not till evening was upon us that we knew 
by many indications that we were close on the 
enemy. Then we halted and waited till the night 
had fully come, sending out in the meantime our 
spies to see what the English were doing. 

Softly, like thieves, they returned with word they 
had discovered that Sir Nicholas and the greater 
portion of his army were not to be seen, having 
apparently gone on, but that a small company of 
English soldiers and most of the OTlahertys of 
Aughnanure were camped some two or three miles 
away, having in their charge great droves of cattle. 
Having no thought that they were being fol- 
lowed up by us, they had made no preparations 
for defence, and therefore might easily fall into 
our hands. 

Leaving our chargers to the care of the horse- 
boys, we divided ourselves into two bands, Richard 



Burke being in command of the one, and I of the 
other; and, going verjr circumspectly so as to give 
no hint of our approach, we burst upon the enemy, 
many of whom were slain at the first onset, but a far 
larger number escaped us in the darkness. We spent 
the rest of the night in their camp, having secured 
the cattle ; and when daylight made manifest every- 
thing to us I saw that we had accomplished all this 
victory without the loss of a single man, there being 
but few wounds even among us. 

Then we rode on that day and two more, now 
and again falling in with scattered companies of the 
enemy, whom we slew or dispersed, and recovering 
from them whatever plunder they were taking out 
of the land. But Sir Nicholas we did not meet with, 
as he had gone on day and night without halting, 
having heard, as I afterwards learned, that the 
Burkes of Clanrickarde, under Ulick, the son of the 
earl, had brought together several hundred men, 
including many Scots, and that they were even now 
threatening Galway itself. 

As we were not purposed to go on to Galway after 
the Governor, we returned to Carrickahooley at our 

And now, as we journeyed northwards, Kichard 
Burke's talk to me was all of his love for my mis- 
tress. How brave, how strong, how great she was ! 
And of how wonderful a spirit and so wise 
withal ! Did I think that she had a regard for 
anyone in especial? Or, that he might have a 
chance with her ? 



And thus he talked and talked, until I, who had 
my own love trouble, and found it hard enough, was 
first constrained to listen, then to utter words of 
sympathy, and, last of all, was unfeignedly glad 
when our arrival at the castle put a stop to the out- 
flowing of his eloquence. 





" The Earl of Desmond," said Grace O'Malley to me, 
" is our natural leader against the English, and I wish 
you to go and see him." 

These words my mistress addressed to me shortly 
after Richard Burke and I had returned. She and I 
were alone, and, indeed, she had sent for me expressly, 
so that I knew it was of some matter of importance 
she wished to speak to me. I had not anticipated, 
however, that it would be this. 

" Yes," I said. " When do you desire me to go ? 
De Vilela will hardly be able to be moved for some 
time yet, and I suppose that he will accompany 

Don Francisco was better, but several weeks 
would have to elapse before he would stand on his 
feet, or even be moved from his bed with safety. 

" No," said she. " I do not think it prudent to 
wait so long a period as may have to pass before 
de Vilela has sufficiently recovered. You must take 
Fitzgerald with you, and set out at once for the 
Desmond stronghold at Askeaton. Fitzgerald is now 
nearly well, his wound being all but healed. He 
possesses something of the confidence of the King of 



Spain, which Don Francisco enjoys to the full, and is 
therefore in a position to speak with Desmond, and 
to find out what his intentions are." 

" As you will," said I, not without gladness, for it 
would be a way, and that a perfect one, to enable me 
to keep my resolution with regard to Eva and de 
Vilela — if I were out of the castle altogether, then 
indeed would the field be left to him alone. But, at 
the same time, there was a gripping about my heart 
that certainly was not caused by pleasure. 

" It would be most unwise to delay," continued 
she. "Sir Nicholas Malby will come against us so 
soon as he can raise a large army ; if not Sir Nicholas, 
then another ; if not this year, and he will scarcely do 
so now the winter approaches, then next year. And 
thus will the contest go on till the end has come. 
Under Desmond, the head of the Geraldines, the 
greatest noble of the South, all the Irish people 
will rally." 

My mistress's voice was full of excitement; but I 
was not so sure of Desmond, and so made haste to 
remind her that he had been out against the Queen 
before, and had got nothing but imprisonment and 
grievous loss for his pains. 

"It is not the same now," replied she, with her 
ardour undiminished; " for Philip of Spain will throw 
his sword into the balance. When Desmond under- 
stands that he will be backed up by the ships and 
the soldiers and the money of Spain, he will throw off 
all irresolution, and show himself to be the great 
prince he is. Tell him that we are with him heart 
o 2 



and soul. Tell him that the Burkes, both the Upper 
and the Lower Burkes, will forget their feuds, and 
unite for this one common purpose. Tell him there 
will be no lack of treasure ; and as an earnest of this 
we will now go to the Caves of Silence, and take from 
thence the chest of gold found on the Gapitana — 
I have spoken to de Vilela about it — and some gems 
as well, as a present from me." 

My mistress's mind was made up, and vain would 
it have been for me to try to cause her to change her 
determination. And why should I try? Was not 
what she said true ? Was not Desmond a prince in 
the land ? If he could not be depended upon to lead 
us against the English, then on whom could we 
depend ? So I stifled whatever of doubt I felt. 
Grace O'Malley was my leader, and if she were 
content with Garrett Desmond, then so was I. 

We went together to the Caves of Silence, and 
brought away from them the chest of gold, a casket 
richly chased and adorned with rare jewels, and a 
dagger, the handle and sheath of which were studded 
with precious stones. 

"What hatred of the English may not accom- 
plish," said my mistress, " gold will. Many a good 
sword may be bought when neither love nor hate 
would affect aught ; many a waverer made steadfast 
on the rock of gold." 

I was to sail early next morning in The Gross of 
Blood, and in the evening when I sat in the hall, she 
straightly charged me that I was on no account to 
adventure the ship or myself in any sort of peril, and 



that I was not to attack any vessel, however fair and 
goodly a prize it might seem ; nay, on the contrary, I 
must keep out of the track of ships as far as was 

When the two ladies left us for the night, and I 
rose to bid them farewell for a time, I held Grace 
O'Malley's hand, and she pressed mine warmly. I 
would have given all that I had in the world, or ever 
hoped to possess of it, if Eva would but have clasped 
my hand with something of the same fervour, or that 
I could have held hers and caressed it with a lover's 

And the eyes of my dear, too, were soft and kind, 
so that my heart cried out for a token, but my debt 
to de Vilela stood between us, and I only touched 
the little hand. 

She looked at me somewhat strangely, I fancied, 
as if the coldness of my manner made her marvel, 
and I think that there perhaps was a faint gleam of 
laughing malice in the face of Grace 0'Malle3 T , who 
stood by. But in the morning, there, at the window 
high up the tower, were to be seen both my 
mistresses, with their fingers to their lips kissing 
me good-bye, as the galley was pulled out from 
the harbour. 

It was now October, a month of storms, and we 
had to encounter head winds, heavy seas, and much 
stress of weather, so that our progress southward was 
slow. Keeping close in shore, we took advan- 
tage of whatever protection the coast, or the islands 
along it, afforded us, having frequently to put in 



and ^stop in one or another of the bays of Con- 

A full week was thus taken up before we had 
gotten through the South Sound between Inisheer 
and the mainland, and, with the exception of some 
fishing boats, we had had the sea to ourselves. 

As we passed down the rocky, mountain-crowned 
coast, we were sorely buffeted and wrought upon by 
the winds and waves. By the time we were abreast 
of the Cliffs of Moher, so furious a tempest was raging 
that I feared never would we live through it. 

The stoutness of the galley, however, and perhaps 
some skill of seamanship, brought us safely to the 
Head of Cregga, which we essayed to round, but 
experienced so great a travail in the doing of it, albeit 
we did it, that we were well-nigh exhausted with the 
labour. But, once round the Head, we found our- 
selves in a stretch of water which, by comparison 
with that we had gone over, was as a quiet pool, to 
wit, the Bay of Liscanor. 

And here we remained for some hours, looking for 
such an abatement of the storm as would allow us to 
proceed ; but in this our hope was not to be realised 
as soon as we had expected, for the night fell, and 
the fury of the tempest was not spent. 

The first object that met our gaze when the light 
of morning had come was a ship, all her masts 
gone, and the waves sweeping over her, go driving to 
her doom on the rocks of Cregga. As now her bows, 
now her stern was lifted up, so that we got a full view 
of her hull, there was that about her that seemed to 



me not unfamiliar, but I could not say then what it 
was. Clutching the ropes and bolts on and about 
what remained of her bulwarks were a few men, 
clinging desperately in the face of death to their last 
hold on life. 

There was no possibility of the ship being saved, 
and there was hardly a greater likelihood of saving 
the lives of any of these miserable sailors, but I 
resolved to make the attempt, at least. 

Bringing up The Cross of Blood as near as I 
dared to the Head, and having made ready to lower 
her two small boats, I waited for the moment when 
the vessel would crash upon the rocks, and be 
crushed and broken upon them. As she neared 
the cliffs, the spume of the waves shooting high 
and white in the air, the foaming, roaring waters, 
dashed back by the rocks, caught and twisted her 
about, so that, as her side was turned to us, I saw 
her name in letters of white and gold. 

She was The Rosemary, a shot from which had 
caused the death of my master, Owen O'Malley, a 
few months before, and well did I remember how 
I saw her sail up the Shannon on her way to 
Limerick, with the two eerie figures shadowed 
against her canvas. 

For an instant I felt an impulse to stand off, and 
to make no effort to avert the fate of any of her men 
— it was uncertain, I told myself, whether at the best 
I could render them any assistance. But, after all, 
we had no quarrel with these wretched mariners, 
about to be swallowed up by the ever-hungry sea, 



and, if we had had, this extremity of theirs was of a 
kind which we could not look upon as our oppor- 
tunity and have been worthy of the name of men. 

Therefore, when The Rosemary rose to the waves 
for the last time, and was borne aloft on the black 
edge of a huge roller, and then shattered to fragments 
upon the rocks, did we keep a sharp look-out for 
the bodies, living or dead, if any, which might appear 
on the water near where we were. 

And five poor souls, by means of our boats, did 
we save alive, or, being as the dead, did bring to 
life again — and one of them was a woman. 

Surely this was the queerest trick that fate ever 
played upon me, for the woman was none other than 
Sabina Lynch ! Nor do I wonder that, when she had 
come to herself and, seeing me, knew upon whose 
ship she was, she did imagine she had but escaped 
from one kind of calamity to meet with another, 
and that perhaps worse : for she had to be restrained, 
and that by force, from casting herself back into the 
sea, preferring death to being in my hands. 

And, verily, I was in a grievous quandary with 
regard to her. 

She would not eat nor drink nor rest nor sleep, 
but only cried and sobbed and moaned, till she fell 
into a sort of stupor. Recovering after awhile, 
she did naught but cry and sob and moan again, 
and was so distraught that I felt a pity for her. 
Then, what was I to do with her? True, I could 
keep her a captive, and take her back with me 
when I returned to Carrickahooley, and give her 



over to my mistress, who would doubtless ac- 
cord her the grimmest of welcomes. And , this, 
perhaps, was my duty. If it were, I failed in 

Urged on by a woman's spite and jealousy, Sabina 
Lynch had played a treacherous ahd cruel part in 
regard to Grace O'Malley, and she was, in a measure, 
the cause of our quarrel with Sir Nicholas and the 
English. Sure was I that my mistress would not be 
merciful to her, nor would she expect me to be. 
Why, then, should I have been ? 

I have no other answer, if it be an answer, except 
that I was deep in love with Eva O'Malley, and that 
my love for her made me feel certain that Eva, much 
as Grace was to her — as to me — would have told me 
to act as I did towards this woman. For I deter- 
mined to let her go free. 

It is not in me to explain this matter further, 
nor to tell how often I argued it with myself, ever 
coming back, however, to what I conceived would 
be the desire of Eva — to let Sabina Lynch go. And 
if the other course was my duty, there was ine^ed 
out to me, as will be seen, punishment out of all 
proportion to my fault. 

Having come to the conclusion that Sabina Lynch 
should be set at liberty when a suitable opportunity 
presented itself, I acquainted her with my decision. 
She could scarcely believe her ears, and was not 
convinced that I meant what I said until I informed 
her that she might move about the galley as she 
pleased, and that I would put her ashore at Liscanor 



if she wished it, or take her on with us if that was 
her will. 

When she saw that I did not intend to deceive 
her, nor to do her any hurt, she told me that she was 
going to Limerick. Inquiring why she had left 
Galwajr, I now heard of the rising of the Upper 
Burkes under Ulick, the son of the Earl of Clan- 
rickarde, which had caused Sir Nicholas to hurry 
back to that city — as I have before recorded. It 
appeared that the people of Galway were in the 
extreme of terror, as nearly all the fighting men of 
the place had been withdrawn from it, and from 
Athlone, where was the next English garrison, as 
well, for the expedition against Grace O'Malley, and 
the city was thus left without defenders. 

The Burkes had met with no resistance on their 
march to Galway, and the city was in great danger 
of being taken and sacked. A way out, however, 
remained, by the sea; and so grave was the state 
of affairs that Stephen Lynch, the mayor, had gladly 
availed himself of an opportunity of sending his 
daughter away for safety by The Rosemary, which 
happened to be leaving for Limerick. Along with 
her had also gone several ladies of Galway, but they 
had all perished in the wreck. 

I now informed Sabina Lynch that I was bound 
for the Shannon, and that I would put her ashore 
at some point on the river near Limerick, if our 
voyage had a favourable termination, but that I 
thought it would be better for her to land here at 



However, she replied that she had friends at 
Limerick, but knew no one in Liscanor, and so 
begged to be allowed to remain on The Gross of 
Blood. She prevailed upon me with her entreaties, 
and I consented — wherein, God wot, I was weak 
enough, though nothing short of her death could 
have prevented what was to occur. 

There is a saying among us Celts, " What will 
be, already is" and this saying is true. 

The day which succeeded that on which The 
Rosemary was destroyed saw us out of the Bay of 
Liscanor, and, the weather being propitious, the 
next found us entering the mouth of that most 
beautiful of all the beautiful rivers of Ireland, the 
Shannon. But it was not until two days later that 
I brought the galley into the bay of the creek upon 
which, some miles inland, stands Askeaton, the 
fortress of the Desmonds. 

During this time, being fully occupied with the 
working of the ship, I had seen little or nothing of 
Mistress Lynch, who, however, had had many con- 
versations with Fitzgerald, and often did I hear 
them laughing and jesting, the one with the other, 
as if there were no such things in the world as bad 
weather and storms, and shipwrecks and war, and 
the deaths of men. 

Now the bay in which the galley lay was no great 
distance from Limerick, and as it would have been 
the height of madness to go any nearer that city, 
which could not but be very hostile to us, I told 
Sabina Lynch that our journey was at an end, and 



that she was free to go. Whereupon she thanked 
me, and along with Fitzgerald, who had offered 
himself as her escort- for part of the way, and who 
was well acquainted with the country — for it was 
all the territory of the Geraldines — left The Gross 
of Blood. 

On his return, he and I, accompanied by some 
of our men, and taking with us the presents sent 
by my mistress, set out for Askeaton, where we 
were received by the Earl of Desmond. 

The castle was one of the largest and most for- 
midable in Ireland, consisting of several towers and 
strongly built houses and stables, the whole sur- 
rounded by high walls around which flowed the 
waters of the creek, so that it looked like a town 
on an island in the middle of a lake. A village, with 
a church at one end of it, stood on the rising 
ground that led up from one of the banks of the 
stream over against the castle. 

When the drawbridge was lowered — Fitzgerald 
making the matter of an entrance easy for us — and 
we had passed within the walls, I saw in the yard 
a considerable number of the gallowglasses of the 
Geraldines, some having arquebuses, but most of 
them only spears or battle-axes and swords. 

One of the knights of the Earl's household ap- 
proached us, and said that his lord was ready to 
see us. Fitzgerald and he — they were cousins, it 
appeared — began at once to talk, and they introduced 
me to several other gentlemen whom we met. And 
so we went into the presence of the Earl. 



Grace O'Malley had said that he was " our natural 
leader " against the English, and narrowly did I scan 
the features of Garrett Desmond as he rose from 
his chair to offer me his hand. 

My first impression was that of extraordinary 
disappointment, for I could see nothing very notable 
about him. Then, as he spoke, I noticed a twitching 
of the lips that strongly savoured of indecision, to 
say the least, and also that his eyes roamed rest- 
lessly, not settling fixedly on man or thing for a 
single instant. And as I observed him the closer, 
the keener was my disappointment. 

Yet this noble was a great power in the land. 
Once the Desmond war-cry was sounded forth from 
Askeaton, thousands would shake their spears in 
ready response. He had but to say the word and 
the whole South-West of Ireland would spring to 
arms. He had said it once and might say it 
again, but I distrusted and misliked him from the 

Courteously, however, did he receive me, and 
graciously the gifts which I presented to him in 
the name of my mistress. He inquired of me many 
things respecting her, to all of which I replied to 
the best of my ability. Indeed, during the time I 
spent at Askeaton, he never appeared weary of 
hearing about her and her exploits, which seemed, 
he said, incredible in one so young. 

Then, after we had feasted together, he called 
Fitzgerald and myself aside and took us into an 
inner room where we three were by ourselves. And 



now Fitzgerald told him of the help, both in men 
and money, which Philip of Spain promised in the 
event of a general rising against the Queen, and 
I repeated to him all the words which Grace O'Malley 
had charged me to say to him. 

Never once did I take my glance off him, but 
he would not meet my eyes. For the most part 
he paced up and down the room, and one could 
easily see the travail of his mind in the working 
of his face. At one moment there would be glad- 
ness and the look of resolve, then doubt and gloom 
would take their place the next. The same uncer- 
tainty could be seen even in his walk, which was 
now swift, now slow. 

At last he said that it was a heavy matter, and 
not lightly to be undertaken, and invited me to stay 
at the castle until he had considered it more at large. 
I pressed for an immediate reply to my mistress, 
but he asked me to tarry for a few days, and, as 
I could not well do otherwise, there did I remain 
until one morning he gave me a letter for Grace 
O'Malley and many presents for her and myself, 
and so dismissed me. 

During the time I waited for his answer I heard 
from several that a Spanish army was looked for in 
the spring, and I could see that the Earl knew all 
that was going on. Therefore I did not doubt but 
that he had sent a message to my mistress that 
would please her well. 

And while I was thus waiting, the hours hanging 
heavily on my hands, I made myself well acquainted 



with the castle — its towers and strong rooms and 
walls — and thus acquired a knowledge which was 
to stand me in good stead before the end was 

Then it was Ho ! for The Gross of Bloody and 
Ho ! for Carrickahooley, which we reached after 
a voyage unmarked by any incident worthy of 




Chiefly by reason of the tempestuous weather, my 
journey to Askeaton and back again had occupied 
not far short of a month, — which was a much longer 
time than had been reckoned upon. On my arrival 
at Carrickahooley my mistress was naturally very 
impatient to hear what was the response of the 
Earl of Desmond to her message, and also what 
my opinion of that noble was. 

First of all I delivered to her the letter and 
the presents he had sent. When she had read his 
letter she handed it to me, and there was, I could 
see, a great light of happiness on her face. But 
when I had glanced over the missive, I was not so 
satisfied with its contents as she plainly was. 

The letter was not a long one, and, in brief, 
was nothing more or less than an invitation from 
Desmond, asking my mistress to go on a visit to 
him at Askeaton, where his countess would give 
her a warm welcome, so soon as spring was come, or 
as early as would be convenient for her. 

With regard to any rising against the Queen he 
said not a word, but intimated that he was very 
desirous of meeting one of whom he had heard so 



much, and of discussing with her such matters as 
affected their mutual interests. 

This last phrase Grace O'Malley took as a hint 
that the Earl, not caring to commit himself to any- 
thing definite on paper, was of the same mind as 
herself, for they had no interests in common save 
such as lay in the expulsion of the English from 
the island. 

Now the message my mistress had sent him was 
frank and open, so that there could not be two 
opinions as to its import. But these words of his, 
it seemed to me, partook in no degree of the same 
character. They might mean much or little or even 
nothing at all, so vague were they. 

If I had not seen the Earl my view might have 
been different, but in the cloudiness of his letter I 
again saw his weakness and want of purpose. I did 
not, I could not, suspect him of anything worse. 
However, Grace O'Malley, although I expressed to 
her what I felt about Desmond, was assured that 
he could only mean one thing, and that was that 
he shared in her ideas, and would be ready to give 
such effect to them as he could. 

" Yes/' said she, " Garrett Desmond is the man/' 

And she was the more certain of this when I 
went on to tell her that I had heard a great deal 
at Askeaton, and that with hardly a pretence of 
secrecy, of the army which the King of Spain was 
to send in aid of the Irish the following year. 

" Do you not see/' said she, " that Desmond 
must be heart and soul in the business, or else he 



would have suffered none of this talk of Philip of 

I had, indeed, made a similar reflection when 
at Desmond's castle, but what I distrusted was the 
character and strength of the man himself. But 
my mistress was my mistress, so I said no more 
then of the Earl. 

I had had no small dispu tings with myself as 
to whether I should tell Grace O'Malley about what 
had occurred with respect to Sabina Lynch or not. 
I could not blame myself, albeit these very searchings 
of my spirit did show some doubt if I had done 
what was best, and tell her I did. 

Whereupon for a minute she fell into a fit ot 
silent rage, which, however, presently passed away 
— the only thing she said being the question, sharply 
asked — 

" Would you have acted in that way, Ruari, if 
it had been a man ? " 

And the sting of the taunt, for such I felt it to 
be, lay perhaps in its truth. Howbeit, neither of 
us ever referred, in speaking to each other, to the 
matter again. 

Richard Burke and his followers had left the 
castle, and had gone back to their own territory. 
He had made me the confidant of his hopes and 
fears with regard to his love for Grace O'Malle}^, 
and I desired greatly to know how he had sped in 
his wooing. 

It was not, however, till long afterwards that I 
discovered he had pressed his suit, and that not alto- 



gether without success, but that she would give him 
no definite promise so long as her affairs were in so 
unstable a condition. 

I did not know of any man in all the world whom 
I esteemed a fit mate for her, but the Mac William 
had many things in his favour, not the least being 
that he was a valiant soldier. That he had ranged 
himself on her side in her quarrel with the Governor 
also had its weight with her. I think, however, that 
at this time he had a very small share in her 
thoughts, as she was entirely wrapped up in the 
Earl of Desmond, whom she looked upon as the 
Hope of Ireland, and in the furtherance of her 

De Vilela was still at Carrickahooley, and had 
so far got healed of his wounds that he was able to 
be about for an hour or two each day. He greeted 
me with his never-failing courtesy, and after I had 
seen more of him I noticed that the air of melan- 
choly gravity he had borne during the siege had 
in nowise changed, unless it were by being even 
deeper than before. 

The sufferings he had undergone and the feeble- 
ness he still endured might easily have accounted for 
this. But I was persuaded that there was another 
reason, although it took me some time to arrive at 
this conclusion. 

What put me in the way of it was that I caught 
him, when he believed himself free from observation, 
looking at me, not once, nor twice, but often, with a 
wistful intentness, as if he were trying to read my very 
p 2 



thoughts, and so to pierce to the innermost soul of 
me. Why was this ? Why was he thus weighing me 
as it were in the balance ? 

Eva was not so much with him now that he was 
regaining his strength, and, whether he was with her 
or not, he had not the look of a happy lover, that look 
which, me thinks, would be present notwithstanding 
pain and the shadow of death. 

And I put the two things together, though not 
hastily, for I feared nothing so much as to be wrong 
in this, and guessed that he had lost all hope of her 
for himself, and was asking himself whether, if so be 
she loved me, I was in any way worthy of her. But I 
think the chief care of this very noble gentleman of 
Spain was not pity for himself, nor my worthiness 
or un worthiness — which is the truer word, but that 
this woman whom he loved should have her heart's 
desire, on whomsoever that desire might fall, and at 
whatsoever cost to himself. 

I did not perceive this in one day, or for many, 
and, pursuing the course I had before determined on, 
abode firm in my resolve not to appear even to come 
between him and Eva O'Malley. 

The winter wore on to the day of the Birth of 
Christ, and all was quiet and peaceful in Connaught. 

Hardly, however, did the new year open — it was 
that year of grace, 1579 — when messengers from 
various chiefs in the north-west of Ireland began 
coming to and going away from Carrickahooley. 

Sometimes their business was with my mistress, 
but still more frequently was it with de Vilela, for 



it had gone abroad that he was with us, and that he 
was in the confidence of the King of Spain, from 
whom he had a mission to the Irish. Among these 
were some of the MacSweenys of Tir-Connall, who 
spoke for themselves and also for their prince, 
O'Donnell, whose wife was a Macdonald, and a kins- 
woman of my own. Many were the plots on foot, 
my mistress striving to bring about a great con- 
federacy of the north. 

Sir Nicholas Malby, after he had repulsed the 
Burkes of Clanrickarde and driven them back to 
their mountains, lay at Galway darkly meditating 
schemes of vengeance. But, for the present, with 
the land all about him in a ferment, he did nothing 
but bide his time. 

Indeed, by the coming of spring, the whole island 
was stirring with the fever of Avar, some looking to 
Spain, and some to Desmond, so that the com- 
manders of the English, from the Lord Deputy at 
Dublin to the poorest of his captains, were in sore 
trouble and disquiet. 

So passed the winter away. 

" Darkness and blood ; then a little light/' had 
been the saying of Teige O'Toole, the Wise Man. 
Now was the time of the little light of which he 
had spoken ; it was immediately to be followed by 
the period of which he had said, " blood and 
darkness, then again light, but darkness were 

It was in April, then, of this year of fate that de 
Vilela, having perfectly recovered of his wounds, 



Grace O'Malley bade nie get The Gross of Blood in 
readiness to convey him to Askeaton. 

De Vilela was anxious to be gone, having tres- 
passed upon our hospitalit}^ as he said, beyond all 
measure. And he was the more eager as now he 
knew for certain that Eva had nothing stronger than 
a friendship for him. He had not asked her, I 
imagine, so sure was he that she did not love him, 
and it was like the man, that, knowing this, he would 
not vex her even with words. 

At the last moment, and unexpectedly, my 
mistress determined to sail with us, and Eva 
O'Malley also came, Tibbot being left in charge at 
Clare Island and Carrickahooley. 

With fair winds, and hopes as fair, did we leave 
Clare Bay behind us, and for two days all went well. 
On the third day of the voyage, the wind having 
changed, the watch descried a ship coming up 
against the line of the sky, and when we had ob- 
served her for a short time we saw that she was 
making towards us. Being much higher out of the 
water than the galley, she had no doubt seen us 

We edged in closer to the land, which loomed 
up some miles away on our left ; whereupon she 
shifted her course as if to cut us off. As she came 
within nearer view she appeared to be a great ship, 
carrying many pieces of cannon, and flying the 
English flag. The morning sun fell upon her, and 
disclosed her deck covered with men whose armour 
and weapons sparkled in the light. 



It was abundantly evident that she was a ship- 
of-war of the English, and well prepared in every 
respect to attack and overwhelm us. Both as re- 
garded her ordnance and the numbers of her crew, 
that she was vastly superior to us was plain. Should 
she get the range of us I made no doubt that we 
should be quickly knocked to pieces. 

On the high seas, a galley like The Cross of Blood 
could not be opposed to such a ship except 
with the one result, and that the worst. Our case 
was little short of desperate, but I did not lose 

Nor did my mistress give up hope. She and I 
held a hurried consultation with Calvagh O'Halloran, 
and determined that we should first try to escape 
by rowing. There was the land before us, and a 
rocky cape jutting from it held out, as it were, a 
friendly beckoning hand. 

Once we had made it, and were safely round it, 
we would be in a shallow bay, into which flowed a 
river — up which the galley might go, but not so 
large a ship as the Englishman. We therefore bent 
our whole energies to this end, but all in vain. It 
became apparent before we were half-way to the 
shore that we were completely outsailed, and were 
at the mercy of the enemy. 

When I had fully grasped the extreme peril in 
which we were, and reflected that my whole world 
was on board this galley, to say nothing of the fact 
that every timber of it was dear to me, my heart 
well-nigh fainted within me. Here was that great 


woman whom I served ; here also the woman whom 
I loved. 

Was it to this destiny they had been born ? 
Notwithstanding our danger, I could not believe it. 

What was the worst that the spite of fortune 
could wreak upon us ? 

Either The Gross of Blood would be sunk by 
the enemy's fire, and we would perish in the sea, 
or she would be captured, many of us being killed 
in the struggle, and the rest taken — what would be 
their fate ? 

But there was no need to ask that ; for I was 
well assured that the people of the English ship 
knew who Ave were, or, at least, whose galley it 
was, for who in Ireland had such a vessel as The 
Gross of Blood, except Grace O'Malley ? 

Such were my thoughts when my mistress 
spoke in my ear, and said that as it was im- 
possible to escape from the Englishman we must 
fight him. 

"With all my heart," cried I; "but how?" 

Then she told me what to do. 

I w r ent forward to Calvagh, and bade him order 
his oarsmen to row w T ith all their might until I 
gave a signal ; when it was given they were to get 
their arms ready, but without making a noise or 
leaving their benches, and having their oars resting 
on the water. 

The Cross of Blood raced on, but the English 
ship went faster, until a shotted gun fired across 
our bows made us well aware of what we had 



known sufficiently already — that we must be sunk, 
or give ourselves up, or, at least, appear to do 

Calvagh looked at me, but I gave no sign 
Grace O'Malley changed the galley's course, so that 
we gained a little by it ; and on we plunged again, 
making for the open sea. But the advantage we 
had thus obtained was of no real value to us, and 
the Englishman, with his square bulging sails swelling 
in the breeze, was quickly at our heels. 

And now a second and, as it were, more per- 
emptory message of iron bade us throw up the game 
and lie to. The great shot fell so close to the 
poop of the galley, and made so heavy a splash in 
the water, that the spray from it might almost 
have fallen on our deck but for the wind. I glanced 
at my mistress and she nodded. 

There was no purpose to be served in rowing 
any longer, for in another second we might be sent 
below the waves. Nor did we make any attempt 
to return the enemy's fire, and so, perhaps, invite a 
broadside from him which would probably have 
settled our affairs for ever. 

Calvagh's eyes were fastened on me, and now I 
gave him the signal; his voice roared hoarsely 
through the galley; the oarsmen sat erect on their 
benches, and the rowing ceased. 

Something that was between a sob and a groan 
came from the lips of our men ; a sort of quiver 
passed over them, as each of them quietly got his 
sword or battle-axe from its place ; and then there 



was a silence, only broken by the waters as they 
lapped along our sides and swished under the blades 
of the oars. 

De Vilela, who had gone into his cabin to put 
on his armour as soon as the chase of us began, 
now appeared. Approaching my mistress and me, 
and in accents tremulous as I had never before 
heard from him, he asked a question of Grace 

" Senorita " inquired he, " tell me, you do not 
intend to give up the galley thus tamely to the 
English ? Surely it were better to die." 

" Better to die," said she, " yes, by the Cross ! " 
And then she rapidly spoke a few words, which I 
could see were not displeasing to him. And I like 
to recall the man, as he stood beside me that day ; 
clad in his suit of mail, with the crest of his house 
shining on his helmet, his naked sword drawn, 
its point resting on the deck of the poop ; and 
his eyes bright and steadfast, while a smile was 
on his lips. And we looked towards the English 
ship, saw the scowling faces of our foes hanging 
over her bows, and waited on the will of the God 
of Battles. 

Grace O'Malley in the meantime went down to 
her cabin to speak words of hope and comfort to Eva. 
When I thought of my dear, my heart again fainted 
within me ; then it seemed to grow so big and strong, 
calling, as it were, loudly to me to play the man this 
day, that I felt there was nothing that was wholly 
impossible to me ! 



My mistress now returned to the poop-deck, and 
taking the helm from the steersman, as we stood 
close in by the enemy's vessel, she put it down 
sharply, so that the galley was thrown into the fore- 
chains of the Englishman. 

"O'Malley! O'Malley ! O'Malley ! " I cried, and 
quicker than a flash, before the English had got over 
the suddenness of the movement, our men, with 
de Vilela and myself at their head, had leaped on 
board of her. 

With thrust of sword and blow of battle-axe we 
made good our footing on the deck, and for a space 
the English fell back before us. Their captain, a 
towering figure in armour, save for his head, on 
which was a broad cap with a dancing plume of 
feathers in it, rallied them, and led them on at us, 
shouting for St. George and England. 

They were more in number than ourselves, but 
despair nerved our arms, so that we withstood them, 
albeit we were hard pressed, and the fighting was 
terrible beyond all words. I sought to engage the 
captain, but de Vilela was before me. 

Then there occurred an unexpected and almost 
unheard-of and incredible thing. 

I knew the voice at once, and, turning in the 
direction from whence it came, and thus being partly 
off my guard, could not altogether ward off the dart 
of a sword, so that I was wounded in the throat, and, 
had it been but a little truer, would have been slain. 

Above the clang of meeting weapons and the 
rattle of armour and the shouts and sobs and the 



catchings for breath of the foemen, the voice of my 
mistress was heard crying in the tongue of the Irish : 

" Let the O'Malleys divide, and stand on each side 
of the ship ! " 

It was a difficult matter in itself to accomplish, 
and some there were of the Irish who were unable 
to do so ; but such of us who could obeyed her 
command without pausing to try to understand what 
she would be at. 

Then there came forth a great tongue of fire, a 
blinding cloud of smoke, and so tremendous a report 
that the ship was shaken from stem to stern. 

And this is what had taken place : 

When we had sprung on board of the English 
ship, Grace O'Malley was left standing at the helm 
of The Cross of Blood. She had watched the contest, 
and, fearing that we were overmatched, had cast 
about for some means of assisting us. Then, taking 
with her a few of the men whom she had kept in 
the galley for her own guard, she had climbed up 
into the forecastle of the enemy, and, as their atten- 
tion was entirely occupied with us, had, unperceived 
by them or seen too late, run in board one of the 
Englishman's bow-chasers, and had turned it on its 

The piece, thus levelled at this terrible short 
range, swept the deck of its defenders, and among the 
heaps of the slain and the wounded were several 
of our own people who had not been able to gain 
the bulwarks. 

I was myself leaning against one of the ship's 



beams breathing hard, and clutching with the fingers 
of my left hand my bleeding throat, while my right 
still grasped my sword. So dreadful was the sight 
of the deck that now met my eyes that I could 
not help closing them, while a shudder shook my 
whole frame. 

But our work was not yet done. For when we 
essayed to carry the poop we were beaten back in 
spite of all our endeavours, and what might have 
been the end I know not if Grace O'Malley had 
not held possession of that piece of ordnance. A 
second and a third discharge from it shattered and 
destroyed the poop, and at length the ship was ours, 
its whole crew being killed or captured or drowned, 
for many of the English jumped into the sea and 

Having collected her men together, and along 
with them having brought away the prisoners and 
what treasure was found on board of The Star of the 
Sea, which was the name of the ship, she ordered 
it to be scuttled, and then withdrew to the galley. 

But when we came to count up what this battle 
had cost us, our loss was so great that my mistress 
deemed it expedient to go no further with her 
journey at that time, and thus we returned again 
to Clew Bay, having been absent but a few days. 
And there was much mourning among us, for many 
of our people had been slain. De Vilela, how- 
ever, had come unscathed from the fray, and my 
own wound was, after all, not much more than a 



But the uncertainty of the issue of our whole 
conflict with the English had been brought home 
to me in so decided a manner that for the first time 
I realised how dark and menacing was the path that- 
lay before our feet. 




I was never one to whom it is easy to sit still with 
folded hands, still less the man to muse darkly for 
long over the chances and mischances of war. Mine 
certainly was it not to consider and to see the end 
of a thing even from its beginning ; the hour and 
its work were enough for me. Scarcely, then, were 
we come back but I burned to be again on the water 
with the deck of The Cross of Blood beneath my feet, 
and rejoice did I exceedingly when my mistress told 
me what her purpose now was, and bade me get the 
three galleys ready for sea. 

She was resolved to put her whole fortune on the 
hazard, and to employ her entire strength in the 
struggle, and, at the same time, to get what aid she 
could from others. 

Thus, undeterred by our encounter with the 
English ship-of-war — from which we had so hardly 
emerged — nay, rather made the more determined by 
it, she had sent messengers, fleet of foot and strong, 
to Richard Burke, the very day we had arrived at 
Carrickahooley, inviting him to come to her with his 
best and his bravest, and, if he would serve her, as 
he had professed himself ready, to tarry not by 
the way. 



I was nowise in doubt as to what the answer 
of the MacWilliam would be. Not only was he 
committed as much as we ourselves to the contest 
against the Governor, but he had promised to support 
Grace O'Malley in any manner she might desire ; nor 
could I imagine anything that would give him a 
keener pleasure than to comply with her request. 

Two or three weeks passed, however, before he 
appeared at the castle, but when he did come it was 
at the head of a picked company of his gallowglasses, 
two hundred strong. 

In the battles and fights of the previous year 
our force had been reduced by perhaps a third, and 
our numbers had been still further lessened in the 
bloody engagement with The Star of the Sea. Wel- 
come, then, were these stalwart Burkes of Mayo. 
True, they were unused to the sea, but it was my 
mistress's intention that we should all land, and hold 
ourselves at the disposal of the Earl of Desmond. 

" If need be," said she, discussing her plans with 
Richard Burke and me, " I will burn the galleys 
behind me." 

Whether I fought on the sea or on shore was a 
matter of indifference to me ; but I could not hear 
her say this without a pang, although I recognised 
to the full the spirit which inspired the words. 

"There will be no necessity for that," said de 
Vilela, who was present, smiling, " for the ships of 
my master, the King of Spain, will sweep the sea 
clear of the English." 

It was the month of May, and the earth was 



arraying herself once again in her garments of green, 
when we weighed out from the harbour of Clare 

At first, the weather being unsettled, we made but 
slow progress ; however, on the night of the second 
day of our voyage a fair wind sprang up, and on the 
fourth day we were in the Shannon, going up with 
the tide, under a blue sky warm with the promise 
of summer. Casting anchor between the Island of 
Aughinish and the mainland for the night, I went 
ashore to see if I could hear any tidings of Desmond, 
or if anything was known of the expected ships 
from Spain. 

The sight of the three galleys had drawn a 
number of the peasants to the bank of the river, and, 
when I had dispelled their fears of us, I found that 
they were willing enough to talk. Howbeit, they 
could tell us nothing of Desmond, nor had they any 
word of the Spanish ships. 

When I had repeated this to my mistress on my 
return, she asked me to go next day to Askeaton, and 
to inform the Earl, if he were there at his fortress, 
that she was on her way to him, but if he were 
absent to ascertain where he was. Accordingly I 
proceeded in The Cross of Blood to the bay into 
which flows the stream on which the castle stands, 
and arrived at my destination. 

As I was already well known at Askeaton I was 
admitted within the gate without demur, and almost 
the first man I met was Fitzgerald, who greeted me 
with much warmth. But I had not conversed with 



him long before I perceived that he did not seem 
to be in his accustomed spirits, and when I told 
him that my mistress, Eva O'Malley, Richard Burke, 
and de Vilela were no great distance away, he 
appeared to be somewhat distressed. 

" Is Garrett Desmond here ? " I asked, and the 
usually frank expression of his face was instantly 
clouded over. 

" He is expected back at the castle to-morrow," 
he replied. Then as I looked hard at him, waiting 
to hear more, he broke out— 

" Desmond went to Limerick yesterday in attend- 
ance on the President of Minister/' 

" The President of Minister ! " I exclaimed. Then 
I stopped in the courtyard, put my hand on his arm, 
and gazing earnestly at him, asked, " What is the 
meaning of this ? " 

The President of Munster was the English 
Governor of all this part of Ireland, and I could 
not but think this was a strange piece of news. 
That he and the Earl of Desmond should be 
together, evidently on terms of friendship, boded 
no good to Grace O'Malley, or to myself, or to 
our cause. 

" Qf* said Fitzgerald testily " the explanation is 
simple. The country is excited over the prospect of 
the coming of ships from Spain, and the President rode 
over from Limerick to Askeaton to see Desmond — 
ostensibly on a visit merely of courtesy, but in reality 
to spy out what was going on here. I would not 
have suffered him to enter the castle had I been 



Desmond, but Desmond thought otherwise, saying 
the time was not yet ripe." 

This was plausible, but did not account, I thought, 
for the moody looks of Fitzgerald. There was some- 
thing behind all this, but I did not press him further, 
save to inquire — 

" What is to prevent the President from seizing 
Desmond, and thrusting him into prison at 
Limerick ? " 

" He has a strong guard," said he, " and the Pre- 
sident has very few soldiers in Limerick. Besides, 
he feels confident that Desmond will be true to the 

"Has Desmond given him any pledge of good 

" No. He places his trust in Desmond too fully 
for that." 

When I thought over what I had been told, it 
seemed probable enough that the Earl concealed his 
real intentions under the mask of a pretended loyalty 
to the Queen, and would do so perhaps until the 
time, as he said, was ripe. Yet the uneasiness I 
always felt with respect to him increased in spite of 
this supposition. 

Then it occurred to me that perchance Fitzgerald, 
now that he had had time to become better ac- 
quainted with his cousin, was not more satisfied 
with him than I, and that this was the reason for 
his change of aspect. 

However, when I met the Earl next morning, my 
suspicions and fears melted away before the cordiality 
q 2 



with which he received me. And when I told him 
that my mistress was in the vicinity, he declared that 
there was nothing he desired more in all the world 
than to see her. 

" The President of Minister," said he, " has just 
gone back to Limerick from here, and for a time at 
least we will be free from his spying on us. Nothing 
could have fallen out better," he continued, rubbing 
his hands together like one who was greatly pleased, 
" so tell your mistress to make haste and come." 

Likewise his Countess, who was with him, bade 
me say to Grace O'Malley that she was welcome to 

When I returned to my mistress, I repeated to 
her the messages ; but I thought it right to tell her 
also that Desmond had been entertaining the Pre- 
sident of Munster. As I dwelt upon this matter, 
and remembered Fitzgerald's manner, something 
seemed to knock at my heart, and my suspicions 
sprang up anew. 

" He finds it needful," said Grace O'Malley, think- 
ing of Desmond, " to wear a double face as affairs 
stand at present, but when the Spaniards arrive he 
will come forward without disguise as our leader." 

And, in truth, when we were come to Askeaton, 
both the Earl and his Countess made so much of 
my mistress that I felt a sort of shame that I had 
ever had any distrust of him. 

Great entertainments were given in her honour, 
all the noblemen and gentlemen of Desmond's house- 
hold vying with each other in paying her court, while 



the Earl himself seemed never to be able to see 
enough of her. Indeed, he showed her so much 
attention that it soon became apparent that she 
occupied a large part in his thoughts — so much was 
this the case that Richard Burke grew very jealous 
of him, nor did the Countess of Desmond regard the 
matter without displeasure. 

Meanwhile the time was slipping by. Our galleys 
lay in the stream, and though I visited them fre- 
quently to make sure that they were safe, I could 
not but be aware that it was no good thing that thej^ 
should be there, tied up in the Shannon, within easy 
reach of any English man-of-war that might ascend 
the river. 

They were concealed, however, from view; but 
there was ever the fear in my mind that a rumour of 
our being at Askeaton would be bruited abroad, and 
come to the ears of the English. All the Burkes, and 
a considerable portion of our own O'Malleys, had been 
withdrawn from our vessels, and the force left upon 
them could scarcely be reckoned as formidable. 

Another cause for uneasiness was that nothing 
more was heard of the landing of the Spaniards. I 
had many conversations with de Vilela, who was 
certain of their coming, but who knew the time of it 
no more than myself. He did not exhibit the im- 
patience which possessed me, but in his heart I doubt 
not he longed for action as ardently as did L 

Of Fitzgerald I saw very little, for two days after 
the arrival of my mistress at Askeaton he rode over 
to Limerick, and there remained. 



When I spoke of him to de Vilela, he said he had 
heard that Fitzgerald was madly in love with a lady 
who was staying in that city, and that that probably 
accounted for his being there. Knowing what Fitz- 
gerald's disposition was, I could not forbear smiling, 
and now fancied that I had discovered the cause of 
his want of spirits in that he had not been very 
successful in his wooing. 

I thought no more of him or of his affairs, little 
dreaming who the lady was, until the mention of her 
name one day filled me with lively feelings of 
astonishment and vexation, and, as I pondered this 
new and perplexing turn of events, with something 
close akin to terror. 

It so happened that I was talking and jesting with 
one of the Geraldines, when the conversation came 
round to Sir Nicholas Malby, and the iron rule he 
had imposed on Galway and a large part of Connaught. 

" Grace O'Malley," said he, " was more than a 
match for him." 

" Sir Nicholas/' said I, " is the best soldier the 
English have in Ireland, and if he did not prevail 
against my mistress, it was rather because he under- 
rated her strength and her prowess, than from any 
other reason. He esteemed her as no more than a 
feeble woman, and so was deceived." 

" By the way," asked he, " are you well acquainted 
with Galway ? " 

" Yes — well enough," replied I, somewhat crisply. 

"And do you know the Mayor of the town, one 
Stephen Lynch ? " 



" Yes," I assented, wondering. 
" A great merchant ? " he inquired. 
" The richest in Galway, perhaps in Ireland," I 

" With a daughter, an only child, who will inherit 
his whole wealth ? " 

" Yes/' said I, wondering still more. 
" Mistress Sabina Lynch ? " 

" The same," said I ; " but why do you ask these 
questions ? " 

" The woman is beautiful, is she not ? " he went 
on, without replying immediately to my query. 

" No doubt of that," I replied. 

" Rich and beautiful ! " he exclaimed, and then he 
laughed very merrily. 

" Tell me," said I again, " why have you sought to 
know all this?" 

" Ask Dermot Fitzgerald," said he, and would say 
no more, but I understood — all. 

Dermot Fitzgerald was in love with Sabina Lynch ! 
And she was in Limerick, where were the President of 
Munster and his soldiers, and Fitzgerald too ! Here, 
indeed, was a pretty heap of faggots, and it was my 
hand, as it were, that might have placed the lire 
beneath, and set it in a blaze ! 

I saw at a glance how easy it would be for Fitz- 
gerald, without intending in any way to do mischief or 
to betray us to the English, to let drop a word or a 
hint that might suggest to a quick-witted woman to in- 
quire further into his meaning, and that so dexterously 
as not to excite in the least any alarm on his part. 



And what might not be looked for when she 
learned that Grace O'Malley, the woman she hated 
most, and Richard Burke, the man she loved best, 
were together at Askeaton ? And Fitzgerald was 
said to be madly in love with her ! He would there- 
fore be as wax in her hands, and she could mould 
him to her will as she pleased. Small wonder, then, 
that I was disturbed, and felt that we were far 
from secure. 

And now there fell out what, at the time, gave 
me the keenest regret and even pain, though after- 
wards it proved to be of the most inestimable service 
to us. 

It had become very plain to anyone who gave it 
the slightest thought, or, indeed, to anyone who used 
his eyes, that Desmond was infatuated with my 
mistress. Every moment that he could find was 
spent in her society, to the neglect of other matters, 
however important they were. Before he had seen 
her he had been fascinated by what I had told him of 
her and her deeds ; now that he saw her for himself, 
and marked how like a queen she was, he was as one 
bound hand and foot before her. 

Grace O'Malley had a great power over men when 
she chose to exercise it; and now, on her side, she 
appeared not only to encourage him, but also to be 
bent upon his complete subjugation. 

I marvelled at her, yet assured myself that she 
could have no love for the man, but that, perceiving 
the weakness of his character, she took this course in 
order to make certain of his firm adhesion to our 



cause. But it was a course full of danger, for the 
strength of the passion of a man, even of a weak 
man, is no more to be reckoned up and measured 
than is the force of a mighty tempest, beginning in 
a breath and dying out in rain. 

Desmond's countess grew pale and silent, and I 
noted that the furtive glances she stole at my mistress 
were touched at first with dismay, then with anger. 
She must have known the kind of stuff of which her 
husband was made, but her rage, as might be seen, 
was directed wholly against ni)' mistress. I felt a sort 
of compunction, and sometimes wished that we had 
never come to Askeaton at all. 

And this wish was made much stronger, for 
Richard Burke, who bore and endured for awhile 
the utmost torture when he saw how matters stood 
between Grace O'Malley and the Earl, told me that 
he could suffer to see it no longer, and so was de- 
termined co speak to her and remonstrate with her. 

What passed between them I do not know, but 
it was of such a nature that the Mac William shortly 
afterwards withdrew in high dudgeon from the castle 
with all his men. 

I attempted to restrain him from going, but in 
vain. He admitted that he had received no promise 
from Grace O'Malley of her hand, but as she had not 
repulsed him utterly when he had preferred his suit 
to her, and had come to Kerry at her request, he had 
hoped that the matter was in a fair way to be settled 
as he desired. Now, he said, she had no thought of 
him, her whole mind being taken up with Desmond. 



I endeavoured to gainsay this, but without success, 
and I had sorrowfully to witness the departure of 
the Burkes from Askeaton. I so far prevailed upon 
him, however, that he agreed to stay in the district, 
and, having obtained permission from the Earl, he 
pitched his camp a few miles away in the woods. 

Richard Burke's troubles made me think of my 
own love affairs, which were in the same position 
as before, for, albeit, I had a secret, satisfying 
conviction that Eva O'Malley had no special regard 
for de Vilela, I still adhered to my resolution not 
even to appear to come between them. Wherein, 
perhaps, in my stupid pride, I did my dear, to say 
nothing of myself, a great injustice, for she might 
have supposed that I cared for nothing but the 
fierce, mad joy of battle. But never loved I anyone 
save her alone. 

It was on the second or third day after Richard 
Burke had left us that the arrival of the messengers 
from the President of Munster with a letter for 
Desmond threw me into a state of great concern. 
And when I knew what the tenor of that letter 
was, I was disquieted the more, for I could but 
conclude that what I had dreaded would happen 
with respect to the intimacy of Sabina Lynch and 
Fitzgerald had indeed come to pass. 

The Earl received the President's messengers with 
some state, several of his gentlemen and myself being 
with him. 

As he read the letter they presented to him, he 
was evidently disconcerted by its contents, looking 



now at it, now at the messengers ; but when he had 
perused it a second time, he laughed strangely, and 
said he would give no answer at once, but would 
consider what was to be done. 

In the evening, when we were all together in the 
great hall of the castle, my mistress also being of the 
company, he was in a boisterous humour, and bade 
his harpers sing of the glories of the house of 
Desmond. He sat beside Grace O'Malley, and I 
saw him, under cover of the music, speaking to her 
very earnestly; and presently he called me up to 

" What think you, Ruari ? " said my mistress, 
and her eyes danced and smiled, "what think you, 
does the President of Munster ask from the Earl ot 

" What is his demand ? " cried L 

" Nothing less or more," said she, and the laughter 
suddenly went out of her face, " than that he should 
instantly deliver up a certain Grace O'Malley, as a 
notable traitress to the Queen and a spoiler of ships, 
at present lodged in his castle of Askeaton, and 
should forthwith cause her to be conveyed to him 
at the city of Limerick, to be there dealt with 
according to her deserts and the pleasure of her 
Highness. What think ye of that ? " 

" What says the Earl of Desmond ? " cried I. 

" What, indeed ! " said she, answering for him, 
and turning to him with a smile. 

"Ay — what, indeed!" said he, meeting her look, 
and smiling back at her. 



At that instant there was a commotion at the 
further end of the hall, and there entered a man, 
with his garments stained with travel and befouled 
with mire. 

As soon as de Vilela saw him he sprang forward 
with a great cry of delight, and, careless of us all, 
embraced him, while a sort of silence came upon 
us, and the bards ceased their singing ; but the 
whisper soon and quickly ran among us that the 
Spaniards at last were come. 




It was a strange moment. 

There were the representatives of the President 
of Munster, two of the justices from Limerick — these 
stood for the Queen. 

There were Grace O'Malley, her gentlemen, and 
myself — proclaimed rebels. 

There were Desmond and his Geraldines. 

And now here were de Vilela and this stranger 
from Spain ! And we were all met together in the 
great hall of the castle of Askeaton. 

A strange moment, and a strange meeting ! 

De Vilela advanced towards Desmond, and, with 
that grace of manner which this man possessed in 
greater perfection than any other I have ever seen, 
presented the new comer to the Earl. I leant forward 
to catch the name. It was the family name of the 
famous Lieutenant of Santa Cruz, the still more 
celebrated Grand Admiral of Spain. A brother or 
a cousin of Martinez, I said to myself, as the two 
men bowed low before Desmond. 

"Will your lordship permit?'' said de Vilela. 
" Don Juan de Ricaldo, my friend and comrade ! " 

And the Earl extended his hand to Don Juan. 

" You are welcome, senor," said Desmond, but 



without much warmth, for was he not, as it were, 
between the devil and the deep sea, with England 
on the one side and Spain on the other? 

Then he conversed with the two Spaniards in 
a low tone of voice, so that I could hear but im- 
perfectly what was said, but it was impossible not 
to see that he was in great perplexity. The two 
messengers of the President looked darkly on, their 
countenances knit into scowls, while Desmond shot 
a curious glance at them now and again. 

After a few minutes spent in this fashion, Don 
Juan, excusing himself on the score of being weary 
in the extreme from his journey, retired from the 
hall along with de Vilela. When they had with- 
drawn there was a constraint upon us all, no one 
caring to speak his thoughts, for what could we say 
that would not have been noted by those two 
sharp-eared gentlemen from Limerick ? 

For myself I was fair bewildered; but the one 
thing that bulked out most largely in my mind 
was the fact that now there must be an end of 
our uncertainty, as the Spaniards had come into 
the country, as I supposed, and the time for deeds, 
not words, was upon us. 

Nor was our sitting in the hall prolonged that 
evening, for each one who was in authority pre- 
ferred to say nothing, and while the others talked 
together in little knots, it was in whispers, and 
all were glad when the Earl gave the signal for 

The same night I was awoke from a sound sleep 


by de Vilela, who bade me dress and go with him. 
We went into a room high up in the tower, and 
there were my mistress, Desmond, and de Ricaldo 
waiting for us. 

"Ruari," said Grace O'Malley, her face bright 
with excitement, " this gentleman is Don Juan de 
Ricaldo " — we saluted each other — " and he is the 
bearer of news of the highest importance, which 
concerns us most nearly." 

Don Juan bowed again. 

* The ships of the King of Spain have arrived ? 99 
I asked, as my mistress paused. 

" One ship has come," said she, " that of which 
Don Juan is the commander, and others are on the 
way. They set out at the same time, but a storm 
separated them ; he has reached Ireland first, but 
the rest cannot be far off." 

" 'Tis the best of good news," cried L " Would 
to God they were all beside our galleys on the 
Shannon ! " 

" Don de Ricaldo's ship lies off Dingle, on the 
coast of Kerry," said my mistress, smiling at my sally, 
" and the others must be guided to the same harbour. 
They may have already cast anchor elsewhere, or 
they may still be at sea. But I wish you to take 
The Cross of Blood and search for them. Both of 
these gentlemen," she nodded to the two Spaniards, 
u will accompany you." 

" And then ? " inquired L 

:( You will then render them," said she, " any help 
they may require, as, for instance, choosing the most 



suitable place for making a landing, or whatever 
it may be." 

" And then ? " asked I again. 

" Return here/' said she. 

" May I ask/' said I, "if any plans have been 

" They will depend," said Desmond, quickly " on 
the number of the Spanish soldiers — and on other 
things," he added, more slowly. 

" You will go at once, Ruari ? " asked Grace 
O'Malley, but her question was a command. 

" At once," I agreed ; then a thought came to 
me. " Richard Burke should be told of this," 
said I. 

"All Ireland will have heard the news within 
a week," said Desmond impatiently, " and the 
Mac William among the rest." 

This was true enough, but I made sure that he 
knew, for I sent a trusty man to his camp who told 
him what had taken place. I did this later that 

As I was taking my leave I asked my mistress 
if she were satisfied that all was going well, and 
she replied that she was. 

" You will stay on here till I return ? " asked I. 

" Surely ! " It was Desmond who spoke. 

I had half a mind to suggest to her that it 
might be better for her to go back to her own 
galley, but it seemed like a presumption on my 
part, and I held my peace. 

But once we were on board The Gross of Blood, 


swinging down the stream in the hours of the 
morning, I wished that I had been bolder. 

Yet, what was there to fear ? So I repeated to 
myself, but the fear came again and again. For 
there were Grace O'Malley and Eva in Desmond's 
power, the guard they had with them being of the 
slenderest now that Richard Burke was out of 
Askeaton with his gallowglasses, and I myself, with 
de Vilela and some of our choicest men, going 
further away with every mile. 

Was she justified in placing herself so entirely 
in the hands of the Earl ? There was the rub. My 
mistress, however, had declared that she was well 
pleased with the way in which our affairs were 
moving, and with that assurance I had perforce to 
be content. And I verily believe she had no doubt 
but that she could do with Desmond as she chose. 

I had been ordered to keep a look-out for the 
Spanish ships, and I put in at various bays and 
havens where I thought it might be possible that 
they had anchored, but I reached Dingle without 
having seen anything of them. And I well remember 
that it was towards evening, after we had borne the 
blaze of the July sun all day, that we came up 
alongside of Don Juan de Ricaldo's vessel, and de 
Vilela and myself went on board of her with her 

Next morning I put out to sea again, and, 
sailing slowly down the coast for perhaps a couple 
of hours, fell in with the rest of the Spanish ships, 
tacking to the north-westward. 




Having made signs that I wished to speak to 
them, they lay to. As I approached I saw a man 
waving his hand to me from the ship that was nearest 
us, and him I afterwards knew to be Sir James Fitz- 
inauriee. a relative of the Earl of Desmond, and having 
the reputation of being a skilful soldier. He had 
already fought against the English in Ireland, but 
had been beaten by them, and compelled to sue for 

Beside him there stood three or four priests, and, 
a little way off, a group of men wearing armour, their 
swords shining brightly in their hands. There was 
also a goodly muster of footmen, having arquebuses, 
spears and other weapons. And my heart warmed 
when I beheld this array. 

Quitting my galley, I went on board of the ship, 
and presently had told Eitzmaurice, who evidently 
was the leader of the expedition, who I was, and 
for what purpose I was come. I also delivered to 
him letters which de Vilela and de Ricaldo had 
given me for him. Having read these over very 
carefully, he began to ply me eagerly with many 

Was Desmond well \ What preparations had he 
made to rise against the English ? What was the 
general state of the country ? Did its princes and 
chiefs know that he was coming, and were they ready 
to drive the English into the sea ! Were the English 
in force, and where lay their army ? Who was there 
now at limerick \ 

All these and many other things did he inquire of 


me, listening to my replies with the closest attention, 
comparing what I said with what was written in the 
letters I had brought, and making a commentary of 
his own. But I soon found out that he was in reality 
as well informed as I was. 

Here was one, I said to myself, who was a very 
different man from Desmond. The way he bore him- 
self was so instinct with firmness, courage and resolu- 
tion that he at once instilled a feeling of confidence 
in all who met him. Then the questions he had 
addressed to me impressed me as being just such 
questions as a soldier and a man of action would 
ask. But what struck me most was that when he 
spoke of Desmond, while he said not a word in his 
dispraise, he was apparently not certain of him. And 
this was so much in my own manner of thinking of 
the Earl that my fear of him was intensified. 

It was now my turn to ask questions, and I in- 
quired how many men Fitzmaurice had with him, 
and if these were all, or were we to look for more ? 

" There are four hundred of us — Spaniards, 
Italians, Irish, and English ; these English," he 
added, "are not of the Queen's religion. And as 
to what we may expect, Father Sanders will tell 
you more,'' and he turned to one of the priests 
standing near. " Father," said he to the priest, 
" this is Ruari Macdonald, foster-brother of Grace 
O'Malley of Erris and the Isles of Connaught." 

" You have just come from Desmond," said 
Sanders ; " I have heard something of what you 
have been saying, and your mistress is with us." 
r 2 



"Yes/' I replied, "Grace O'Malley is at Ask- 

" She is firm in the cause ? " 

" She, and all of us, are proclaimed rebels/ 7 cried 
I, " so you may judge for yourself." 

Then he exchanged glances with Fitzmaurice, 
and continued, " And Desmond ? what of him ? " 

Thereupon I gave them an account of what had 
occurred at Askeaton since our arrival there. 

" I do not see," said Sanders, when I had done, 
"how the Earl could have acted otherwise. As he 
said, he had to wait till the time was ripe. But 
now, the time is ripe, and the Desmond war- 
cry will soon resound on every side ! " And the 
priest looked fixedly at Fitzmaurice, who, however, 
remained silent. 

Sanders then began speaking again, and told me 
how that the Pope had blessed the expedition, and 
had given both men and money, and would send 
more ere long. Next he took me to see a splendid 
banner, all blue and gold, with the figure of our Lord 
upon it, which he had received from Rome. 

" This will march with our hosts," cried he, " and 
lead us on to victory ! " 

Now, with the priests and the mysteries of religion 
I have never had much to do, and while the spirit of 
the man was in itself a beautiful thing, and the 
banner, too, a thing beautiful to behold, yet I could 
not forbear from thinking that fighting men were 
what we most stood in need of, and that four hun- 
dred soldiers, however brave they were, even added 


to our own, were far from being sufficient to drive 
the English out of Ireland. For I knew the English 
by this time, and that they were no mean foes. 

And when I said what was in my mind to Fitz- 
maurice, who I was sure would agree with me, he 
replied that I must remember that the force he had 
with him was but the advance guard of a great 
army, which, even at that very instant, might be 
already on its way to our coasts. So I took fresh 
courage, and hoped for the best. 

After we had had a long conversation I said that 
my present business was to see his ships safe into 
the harbour of Dingle, or into any other haven which 
might be selected in Kerry, and as de Ricaldo's 
vessel was not at Dingle, I purposed, if it was agree- 
able to him, to go on ahead in my galley and show 
him the way, as it were, to the place. To this he 
assented, and I went back to The Gross of Blood. 
We made Dingle soon thereafter, and I could see 
that Fitzmaurice and Sanders immediately got ready 
to land. 

There had already gathered upon the shore a 
crowd of the Irish belonging to that part of Kerry. 
Partly, I imagine, to impress them, and partly 
because of the nature of the occasion itself, Fitz- 
maurice and Sanders had deemed that their landing 
afforded a fit opportunity for no little display. They 
had therefore arranged a sort of procession, and I 
watched it, as it moved along, with keen interest ; 
nor was I cold and stolid myself at the sight 
of the joy of the country people, who received 



it on shore with loud shoutings and a tumult of 

Two friars, chanting a psalm, stepped first on 
shore ; behind them came a bishop, clad in the 
robes of his sacred office, with a mitre on his head 
and a pastoral staff in his left hand. His right hand 
was raised solemnly invoking a blessing on the land, 
and his lips moved as if in prayer, while the Irish 
knelt upon the shore as his feet touched the ground. 

Then came Father Sanders, the banner which the 
Pope had consecrated waving above him, and, im- 
mediately after him, Fitzmaurice and those of 
knightly rank — gallant, mailed, long-sworded gentle- 
men every one ! And now the foot-soldiers, each 
in a company under its own captain, streamed from 
the ships — making altogether a brave show. 

As soon as a camping place for the night had 
been chosen, Fitzmaurice appeared at the side of 
my galley, and, having come on board, said that 
the harbour of Dingle from its shape — the mouth 
of the bay being narrow — was one from which it 
would be difficult to escape in an extremity, and 
asked me to suggest another. 

Whereupon I replied that the haven of Smerwick, 
four miles to the north across the tongue of land 
where we now were, would be more to his mind. 
And thither the next day Fitzmaurice marched his 
troops ; the ships were brought round, and, all his 
stores having been fetched ashore, he at once set 
his men to work, making a trench and fortifying 
the place. 


As I had now accomplished the mission my 
mistress had entrusted me with, I set about pre- 
paring to return to Askeaton. But Fitzmaurice 
prevailed upon me to stay two or three days longer, 
telling me he had sent horsemen to Desmond with 
a letter, in which he had urged his kinsman to declare 
war against the Queen without delay, and saying the 
reply might be of such a character as to change my 
plans. He hoped the answer would be speedy, and in 
any case, he said, it was well that I should know 
exactly what the Earl wrote. 

But several days passed, and still no word came 
from Desmond. 

In the meantime, Sir John, a brother of the Earl, 
arrived at Smerwick. This man, with whom a hatred 
of the English was the chief passion of his life, greatly 
lamented the supineness of his brother, but he had 
no knowledge of the Earl's movements. There was 
no mistaking that Sir John was sincere, and when he 
asked Fitzmaurice, de Vilela, and myself to accom- 
pany him on his return to his castle of Tralee, 
where, he said, our reception would give full proof 
of his devotion to the cause, I for one gladly 

We took with us a considerable number of men, 
so as to guard against a surprise, but we reached 
Tralee without adventure of any sort. 

Before we had gained the castle itself, however, 
we were met by one of Sir John's gallowglasses, who 
warned him that two officers of the English had 
arrived there that very day, and that, as one of them 



was well known to Sir John, they had been allowed 
to enter within its walls without question. 

Hastily calling a halt, we consulted together what 
was the wisest course to pursue. Sir John was for 
our going on, but Fitzmaurice thought it would be 
more prudent for Sir John to ride forward with his 
own attendants,, and then, when night had fallen, we 
might secretly enter the castle. 

"Who are the Englishmen ? " asked I, thinking 
that they might be known to me. 

" One is Carter, the Marshal of Minister," replied 
Sir John, " and the other is Davell, a captain in the 
garrison at Limerick." 

I was acquainted with neither, but I remembered 
that I had heard of Davell, and what it was, and 
I looked steadily at Sir John. 

" Sir John," said I, " the name of Davell is not 
unfamiliar to me, and, if my memory serve me aright, 
you must know him well." 

" Yes," said he shortly ; " he once stood between 
me and death in a former war. But what of that," 
added he grimly, " as things are now ? " 

I held my peace, whereupon he exclaimed 
passionately : " I will suffer nothing to stand between 
me and the deliverance of Ireland ! Let us proceed." 

Fitzmaurice, however, would not agree to this; 
so Sir John went on, as had been suggested, and we 
withdrew into the forest not far from the castle. 
But about midnight Sir John sent to say that the 
Englishmen had gone to bed, and that, as all was now 
quiet, he invited us to come. Nor did we refuse. 


When we had entered within the silent castle, Sir 
John met us, and led us, who were leaders, into the 
hall, but our men lay down in the courtyard. When 
wine and meat had been put before us, the waiting- 
men going about on tiptoe, Fitzmaurice inquired 
of Sir John if we might be told on what business 
it was that Carter and Davell had come to Tralee. 

"As spies. What else?" said Sir John. "The 
tidings of your landing have reached the ears of the 
President, and they have ventured hither for more 
news. They tell me they wish to see for themselves 
what is going on." 

" What say they of Desmond ? " I asked. 

" They say — what I cannot believe," cried he, 
forgetting to whisper, as we had been doing ; " they 
say that Desmond himself sent a letter to the Presi- 
dent — a letter he had received from you," and here 
he glanced at Fitzmaurice — " and that he has offered 
to drive the Spaniards back to their ships." 

We were all silent. As for me, my mind was 
as a blank, while my heart beat so furiously that 
it was like to rend my body. 

" I will never believe it," said Sir John. " ? Tis 
nothing but a base lie ! " 

In the anguish of my spirit I groaned aloud, so 
that the rest looked curiously at me. 

" You believe it ! " slowly said Fitzmaurice ; " and, 
by the Mass ! so do I." 

" No, no ! " exclaimed Sir John. " Not that — not 

Then he sprang from his place, and, even i 



the dim light of the candles, I could not but see 
how ghastly was his face. 

* Not that — not that ! " he cried again, then with 
swift steps turned and left us. 

I heard the sound of his feet as he went up 
the stair to the sleeping- rooms above ; presently the 
noise ceased, but in another moment the stillness 
was rent by a piercing cry, quickly followed by 
another and another. 

We gazed at each other fearfully, asking mutely 
what this might portend, when Sir John returned 
to the hall, his mantle and his hands stained with 

" Let this/' cried he in wild accents, and he 
shivered as the blood dripped from him, " let this be 
a pledge of the faithfulness of the Desmonds to 
you and to the cause ! " 

" What have you done ? " asked Fitzmaurice. 

" There are no English spies alive now in Tralee," 
said he more calmly, " to carry tales to Limerick." 

He had stabbed to death Carter and Davcll, as 
they lay asleep, with his own dagger. 

And one of them had saved his life, and both had 
counted themselves his friends ! 

I felt myself growing sick with horror of the man 
and his deed. To slay men in a fight was one 
thing, but to kill sleeping men under one's own roof 
was another and a very different thing. 

And with the horror there came a nameless fear. 




Once the first shock of this terrible affair was over 
my thoughts were so many, and withal so dreary, 
that it was impossible for me to get any sleep in 
the short hours which yet remained before the day 

I sought and found excuses for Sir John, but 
the excuses did not wholly satisfy me. For, if 
against this act of treachery of his, there might and 
could be set instances as base on the part of the 
English rulers of Ireland, that made it not the less 

He no doubt justified himself in his own sight 
by believing he had committed his brother, the 
Earl, irrevocably to the cause, and that now all his 
hesitation must cease. But would it ? I asked myself. 

Carter and Davell had declared that Desmond 
was in communication with the President of Mun- 
ster ; no sooner had I heard this than I felt it 
must be true. So, too, had said Fitzmaurice. 
And if it were, in what position, then, was Grace 
O'Malley ? 

After all, was it true ? 

Sir John had denied it; but had it not been 



the very fear that it was true, which had driven 
him as by a sort of frenzy into this dark and 
dreadful act of slaying his defenceless guests ? 

And if Desmond were a traitor, where and in 
what case was my mistress ? 

And what of Eva ? 

One thing was clear, and that was that Tralee 
was no place for me. I now regretted deeply that 
I had not returned to Askeaton at once after the 
harbour of Smerwick had been chosen by the 
Spaniards, and determined to get back to The Cross 
of Blood and to set out for the stronghold of 
Desmond immediately, for it was there that I 
should be. 

With the first blush of day I roused up my 
own men. and bade them be ready to march. As 
I was standing among them in the yard, both 
Fitzmaurice and de Vilela approached, and beckoned 
to me to join them. As I came up, a dozen horse- 
men or more swept past us, and fled across the 

M There goes the rising of Munster," cried Fitz- 
maurice joyfully, nodding towards the horsemen. 
u They have been charged with messages to all the 
chiefs of the province, and before night has fallen 
the battle-cry of the Desmonds will have been 
sounded forth throughout the whole territories of 
the Geraldines." 

•■You have heard, then, from Desmond ? M asked 
I, greatly relieved by his words. 

" Xot yet," replied he ; " but, after last night, 



Desmond can have no choice. Surely you must 
agree with me in that ? " 

" No," said I, very slowly. " I am not sure that 
I agree with you." 

" Which means you do not ! " cried he, with 
anger in his tones. " But why ? " 

It was not easy to put what I thought into so 
many words, and I did not answer at once. 

" Why ? why ? " again asked Fitzmaurice. 

" I can hardly tell you," replied I ; " but you 
heard, as well as I did, the report of his dealings 
with the President, and " — here I spoke out quite 
bluntly — "I have no firm faith in Desmond." 

"Perchance, he hesitated," said Fitzmaurice, 
" perhaps he did at the beginning ; but all that 
will now be at an end. He must declare himself 
openly. His hand has been forced by Sir John, 
and he cannot stand out against us and his people." 

" What are your plans now ? " I asked, rather 
wearily, for I was tired of this incessant reference 
to Desmond. 

" To wait at Tralee till I hear from him," said 
he. " You will wait also ? " 

" No," said I, " I return to Smerwick to-day. 1 

" Return to Smerwick ? I shall not let you ! " 

" Indeed," said I, with some heat. " You are 
not my commander, and I owe you no obedience. 
It is not yours to say what I shall do ; that is the 
right of my mistress alone." 

" Your mistress ! " said Fitzmaurice with a sneer. 

My hand went to my sword, but de Vilela, who 



had so far taken no part in the conversation, 

"Senor," said he to Fitzmaurice sternly, "you 
can mean no disrespect to the lady, Grace O'Malley ; 
she is my dear friend " 

" Senor," said I, interrupting him, " this affair 
is mine/' 

" Senor Ruari," said he, " had any offence been 
intended, it would have been mine, too." 

Fitzmaurice, who quickly saw that he had made 
a mistake, declared that he had neither said nor 
implied anything to the despite of my mistress, but 
his look was sullen, and I wondered at him. 

It was apparent that he had something on his 
mind that was not favourable to her, but he said 
no more. It was possible that he had heard about 
her in connection with Desmond, so I concluded, 
and this urged me to the more haste in leaving 

" I am going to Smerwick at once/' said I to them 

Fitzmaurice was about to speak, but, changing his 
mind, walked away. De Vilela then asked me why I 
was in so great a hurry to be gone. 

" My place is with my mistress/' said I briefly, for 
I could not tell him my thoughts. 

" That is a true word/' said he ; and there was a 
strange catch in his voice, so that I looked at him 
curiously, expecting him to say more, but he was 

No objection being made to our departure, my 



men and I left Tralee, and, before night had set in we 
were at Smerwick. Having saluted the officers of 
the Spanish ships, and acquainted them with my in- 
tention, I weighed out from Smerwick the following 
morning, and on the third day came up with The 
Grey Wolf and The Winged Horse, which were 
quietly riding at anchor in the bay, not far from the 
castle of Askeaton. 

Many had been the questionings of my spirit as 
we had gone up the Shannon; many my doubts and 
fears of I knew not quite what ; but the mere sight of 
the galleys, thus peacefully resting on the water like a 
pair of great sea-birds, dispelled them at once. 

Tibbot, w T ho had been in chief command during 
the absence of Grace O'Malley and myself, came on 
board of The Cross of Blood as soon as we had let go 
our anchor, and I could see from the very way he 
carried himself that all was well with the ships. He 
had nothing stirring to tell me, so it appeared, but 
was exceedingly anxious to hear about the men from 
Spain, and what was being done. 

But before I had gratified him in this respect, I 
inquired when he had last seen or had word of our 
mistress, and he answered that she and the Earl of 
Desmond and a numerous party had visited the 
galleys a day or two after I had sailed down the 
river; and that, since then, he had had no tidings 
of her. Nothing, moreover, save vague rumours 
of Fitzmaurice and the Spaniards had reached 
him through the people living on the shore of the 



So far as was known, Desmond still lay at 
Askeaton, and had not joined in the rising against 
the Queen. 

Tibbot seemed sure that everything and every- 
body remained at the castle in the same position as 
when I had left it; but I resolved to go thither 
without loss of time, and to see for myself how the 
land lay. 

I charged Tibbot in the meantime not to allow 
our men to wander away, but to keep them, as far 
as possible, in the galleys, and so to be prepared 
for any emergency. And I enjoined upon him that 
he was not to offer attack, but only to stand on his 
defence in case of assault. 

Having spoken in the same terms to Calvagh, 
who was to act as Tibbot's lieutenant, I took but 
one attendant, thinking that if more went with me 
I should not be able to get to Askeaton as quickly 
as I wished. 

It was not yet evening as I came in sight of 
Askeaton, and as I gazed down upon it from the 
high ground opposite, I noticed that there was 
nothing unusual in its appearance, except that the 
drawbridge was up, and that there were perhaps a 
few more soldiers on the walls than was customary. 
Descending the edge of the stream I shouted to the 
watch, peering at me through the wicket, to open 
the gate. I could not but have been well known to 
them, but I was kept waiting for some minutes — 
at which I marvelled much. I had no thought, 
however, of turning back. 



At length, the chains of the drawbridge, as they 
clashed and clattered through the sheaves, began to 
move, and the bridge fell into place, the gate being 
opened at the same instant. 

What followed was so sudden that I have only a 
confused recollection of it. 

My feet had no more than trodden the creaking 
planks of the drawbridge, as it seemed to me, or I 
may have been just within the door, when I was set 
upon by several of Desmond's men. 

I was taken completely off my guard, albeit I 
struggled with all my strength, but, being at a dis- 
advantage, this availed me not a whit. In any case, 
I must soon have been overpowered ; but the matter 
was the quicker settled by a blow on my head, under 
which I went down like a felled ox. 

When I had come somewhat to my senses again, 
it was to find myself sick and giddy from the blow, 
while my hands and feet were tightly bound with 
ropes, so that my flesh was chafed and cut; there 
had been a gag thrust into my mouth, and my eyes 
were bandaged. I could not speak, nor see, nor 
move. I could feel I was lying on the earth, but 
where I was I knew not. 

"He is coming to himself," said a voice. My 
brain was reeling, reeling, reeling ; but there was that 
in the voice that seemed not strange, yet I could not 
remember whose it was, so far off was it — as if from 
another world. 

" Put him " and there were other words that 

came to me, but so indistinctly that I could not 



make them out at all; nay, I could not tell, being 
in a stupor, whether I was awake or did only dream. 

Then I was taken up and carried along — up steps 
and steps which appeared to be without end, and at 
last was thrown upon a wooden floor. A door was 
shut and bolted and barred ; and thereafter a sound 
of retreating footsteps dying away, and I was left 
alone. I was wide awake now, for my body was one 
great, almost insupportable pain. 

And terrible as was the anguish of my frame, that 
of my mind was more ; but first came the racking of 
the bones and the torture of the flesh, and these, in 
their turn, brought consciousness and memory, and 
an indescribable agony of the soul. 

I tried to move — a thing well-nigh impossible to 
me, trussed up as I was, and by reason also of the 
pain I suffered ; and I was constrained to abandon 
the attempt. I should have borne up better perhaps 
if my eyes had been open and my tongue free ; but 
there I lay in the darkness, like one already dead, 
and had nearly given way to despair. 

And as the shadows and mists of stupor cleared 
away from my mind, I was overwhelmed at the 
extent of the disaster which had befallen me, for I 
saw in it but too surely an indication of some dread- 
ful evil, some fearful calamity which had overtaken 
my mistress and her fortunes, and that, too, at the 
hands of Desmond. 

And I was powerless to help her ! I had allowed 
myself to be caught — running, blind fool that I was 
my own head into the noose. 



Where was she ? 

Where was Eva? 

What had happened ? 

What was to be the end ? Was this it ? 

Around such questions as these did my thoughts 
move, as if in a circle ; ever asking the same ques- 
tions, and ever without reply ; until I felt that there 
was no more than the breadth of a thread between 
me and madness. 

After a great while — how long I wist not, and 
perchance it was no such great while as it seemed 
to me in that wild fever of my spirit — the door of 
the room in which I lay huddled upon the floor 
was opened. I verily believe that it was the mere 
opening of the door at that very moment that kept 
me from becoming a maniac, so strained were those 
fine chords which subtly hold mind and body as 
if in a balance. 

The bandage was untied from about my eyes, 
and the gag was taken from my mouth ; the ropes 
were partly unloosened from my arms, and food and 
water were placed beside me. 

Two men were in the room, both bearing drawn 
swords, and one carrying a lantern, for it was night, 
and but for its light we had been in total darkness. 
Yet so sore were my eyes that I could scarcely 
bear to look at the men, and when I essayed to 
speak I could not utter a word so swollen was my 

" Eat and drink," said one of them ; but I could do 
no more than roll my head helplessly from side to side. 
S 2 



Then the other, seeing how foredone I was, put 
the pitcher to my lips, and I drank, although each 
mouthful I swallowed of the water was a fresh 
torment. But with the blessed water there came 
relief, na}^, life itself, for the frenzy died out of my 
brain, and my mind became calm and clear. There- 
after I ate, and essayed to speak with the two men, 
but they had evidently been forbidden to converse 
with me, for they would answer nothing. After a 
short time they withdrew, bolting and barring the 
door behind them, and I was left to myself. 

Hours dragged slowly by, and, at length, the 
sleep of exhaustion fell upon me, and when I awoke 
it was broad daylight. The repose had restored me 
in a great measure to myself; but the stinging of 
the cuts made by the bonds on my legs and arms, 
and the dull throbbing, throbbing of my head, 
quickly recalled me to the misery of my situation. 

In the morning, however, I was released from 
the ropes, and more food and water were brought 
me. Again I endeavoured to get the men, who I 
perceived were the same that had come to me the 
previous evening, to speak to me, but in vain. 

Before they had made their appearance I had 
seen that I had not been cast into one of the 
dungeons of Askeaton, but was imprisoned in a 
chamber which I judged, numbering the steps up 
which I had been borne, to be at the top of one of 
the towers of the castle. As soon as they had gone 
I set about examining the room, albeit I was so 
stiff and sore that at first I could only crawl and 



creep on the floor. As this exercise, however, gave 
me back the use of my limbs, I was soon able to 
stand and move about with ease. 

The room was small and bare, without even a 
stool or a bench, and was lighted by a little, narrow 
window, from which I caught glimpses of distant 
masses of trees and the slopes and peaks of far-off 
mountains. During my first visit to Desmond, I 
had made myself familiar with every part of the 
castle, and I knew that the surmise I had made 
that the room was high up in a tower was a true 

There were only the two ways of getting out, the 
one by the door, the other by the window. The 
door was firmly secured, for I had tried it, but I 
might as well have sought to move the stone walls 
of the chamber. And the window was many feet 
above the ground or the river, so that it was im- 
possible to escape by it, unless by means of a ladder 
or a rope, neither of which I possessed. 

It therefore required very little reflection on my 
part to understand how complete was my captivity, 
and how small was the chance of my being able to 
deliver myself from it. 

But it was something that I could see, that I 
could breathe freely, and that I could speak aloud, 
and hear, at least, the sound of my own voice. And 
these somehow brought with them a faint ray of 
hope. As I paced up and down the room — that I 
was permitted to go without chains showed in itself 
how convinced my gaolers were that I could not 



break free — I determined not to despair. But as 
the day passed wretchedly by, and night came on 
again, it was difficult to keep any degree of firmness 
in my heart. 

A thing which kept constantly recurring to me 
was the haunting recollection of the voice I had 
heard, or fancied that I had heard, after I had been 
struck down, and was half-alive and half-dead, and 
so certain of nothing. Then, knowing, as I well did, 
what was the usual horrible fate of one taken 
prisoner, I could not but ponder with surprise the 
comparative tenderness shown me. 

I had not been thrown into a noisome cell 
beneath the castle, or, what would have been worse 
still, under the bed of the stream, and left to die 
of madness and hunger, a prey to rats and other 

Nay, I asked myself why I had not been slain 
outright ? That, it was manifest, had not been the 
purpose of those who had set upon me, for, once I 
was down, nothing could have been easier than to 
despatch me. 

Then, whose voice was it that I had heard ? For 
the life of me I could not remember. 

When evening was come, food and water were 
provided as before, but in the same obduracy of 
silence. The men were as speechless as mutes, 
beyond one saying, "Eat and drink," and I was 
strangely glad and even moved to hear these simple 

Once more being left to the solitude of my 



prison -chamber, a thought came, sharply shooting 
like an arrow, through my sombre musings. The 
same two men always appeared with the food; just 
two men, I told myself, against one. True, they 
were armed, and I was not ; but might not a quick, 
dexterous, unexpected assault give me my oppor- 
tunity ? And if I could but get out of the room, 
could I not trust to my star, and to my knowledge 
of the castle, to find some way of escape ? And if 
I failed ? Well, the worst was death, and I had 
faced it before. And so the project grew, and took 
a firm hold of me. 

Not thus, however, had it been ordained. 

So agitated was I by the mere prospect of re- 
gaining my liberty, that it was long ere I went to 
sleep, and then methought I dreamed a happy dream. 

There was, as it were, a light in that mean room 
— not a great brightness, but a dimly burning light, 
itself a shadow among other shadows. And behind 
that shadow, a pale presence and a ghostly, stood 
Eva O'Malley, and by her side a muffled figure, 
vague and indistinct, but seen darkly as in a mirror 
over which the breath has passed. Clearer, and yet 
more clearly, there were bodied forth the face and 
form I knew and loved ; her hand touched me, and 
my name was whispered softly in my ear. 

" Ruari ! Ruari ! " 

I heard the rustle of her garments; then the 
shadow danced along the wall and died away, as the 
light came closer to my face. 

" Ruari ! Ruari ! " 



" my love ! my love ! " cried I. 

" Ruari ! Ruari ! Come ! " said she. 

" Hush ! Hush ! " said the muffled figure, and 
all at once I was aware that this was no dream, but 
a verity. 

This was no other than my dear herself. 

And the muffled figure — who was that ? A man's 
voice surely had I heard say " Hush ! " And why 
were they come ? Wherefore, indeed, but to deliver 
me. And I sprang up from the floor in haste. 

* Softly, softly," said Eva, as I clasped her hand 
— a living hand, thank God ! 

Then she whispered low that for the present they 
must leave me, for if we all went together, the sus- 
picion of the guards might be aroused, but that I 
must find my way out as best I could. Her words 
bewildered me, but there was no time for explana- 
tions, which would come afterwards. 

* You must contrive to get down by yourself to 
the court," said she. " We will meet you there, but 
wait here first for about an hour, then start. You 
will find the door of this room open; take the left 
turn, and make no noise or you will be lost." 

I did as I had been bid. After what I supposed 
might be an hour I felt my way out of the room, and 
stepping slowly and with a cat's wariness succeeded, 
but with many quakings and alarms, in reaching the 
great hall without attracting the attention of anyone. 
Never could I have done this had I not been familiar 
with the castle, and even as it was I had frequently 
to stop perplexed. 



In the hall were many men asleep, each with his 
weapon by him, as I could see, though uncertainly, 
from the dull glow of the embers on the wide hearth. 
Near the fire itself sat two men, and for awhile I 
looked at them fearfully, for past them must I go. 
But as I watched them carefully I saw their heads 
nodding, nodding — they, too, were asleep. 

Out through the slumberers did I step, praying 
dumbly that they might not waken through any slip 
of mine, and, reaching the door in safety, was, in 
another moment, in the court. 




" Ruari ! " said Eva O'Malley ; " here ! " 

It was that darkest time of night that preludes 
the day, and I could see no one with any degree of 
clearness, but, guided by that beloved voice, I went 
forward, nothing doubting. 

Straining my eyes into the blank, I made out 
figures, moving towards the gate ; Eva came to my 
side, and we followed close upon them. Mystified as 
I was at what had just occurred, it gave me a 
delicious thrill of happiness to be near Eva, and to 
feel myself a free man again. 

" Eva ! " I said. 

" Do not speak — do not speak/' said she, " we are 
not yet out of danger." 

In silence then we walked through the court until 
we had come to the guard-house by the gate, and 
there we halted. One of those with us went into the 
room, and I could hear, though indistinctly, the 
sounds of him and others talking together. 

Some long minutes passed, and the suspense was 
becoming unendurable, when two men with lanterns 
appeared. Without looking at us they proceeded to 
lower the drawbridge, the rattling of whose chains 
was to me then the finest music in the world, and 
to open the gate. 



" Quick/' said Eva to me, pushing me gently on. 

I was over the bridge and on the further side in a 
flash along with two others ; turning back I heard an 
exclamation from the watchmen with the lanterns, 
and some expostulations. 

" 'Twas not in the bargain," I caught ; then there 
were more words which I heard too imperfectly to 
understand, but I recognised from the mere tone of 
one of the voices who the speaker was. 

And with this there dawned on me also whose was 
the voice I had heard after I had been struck down. 
It was Dermot Fitzgerald's ! And he it was who was 
our guide ! " 

In what way he satisfied the watchmen I do not 
know, but, having done so, he and Eva crossed the 
bridge. Then there was a whistle, and now a horse 
neighed; and thereafter the trampling of chargers 
broke upon the ear. The horse-boys brought the 
animals up to us, and presently we were in the saddle, 
moving off* from the castle notwithstanding the 
gloom, Fitzgerald leading the way. 

I wondered where we were going, but I had been 
told not to utter a word, in the one brief sentence I 
had exchanged with Eva when we were mounting the 
horses, and I followed on after her as I would have 
done to the end of the world, but I was fair dazed 
with these strange, fantastic tricks of fortune. 

We had gone about a couple of leagues, as I con- 
jectured, from Askeaton, riding for the greater part 
of the distance through the forest, when Fitzgerald 
stopped — and so did we all. 



The darkness had grown perceptibly less intense, 
and we could now see a sort of path among the trees. 

"I have done what I promised you," said Fitz- 
gerald to Eva O'Malley. Then he turned towards me. 
" Ruari Macdonald," said he, " my debts to you are 
also paid. Farewell, and God help and pity us all ! 99 

" Dermot ! " cried I. 

But he was already past me, galloping fast and 
furiously, like one hotly pursued. 

" He has gone," said Eva, and there was a sob in 
her voice. 

In an instant I had leaped from the saddle, and 
was by her side. Her form was bowed forward upon 
her horse's neck, and her tears were falling heavily, 
as I placed my arm about her waist, and drew her 
towards me, heedless of those who were with us. 

"Eva, darling," I said. "What does all this 
mean?" Not that I cared to be told at that 
moment; it was enough that we were together. I 
pressed her to my heart, and kissed away her tears 
while she struggled with her emotions. I spoke 
many words of endearment, and after awhile she 
regained her calmness. 

" Let us ride on," she said at length. 

" But whither are we going ? " asked I. 

" To the camp of Richard Burke," she replied ; 
" it is only three or four miles ahead of us — so 
Dermot Fitzgerald said. And he has shown himself 
our friend after all." 

" To Richard Burke ? " cried I, more amazed, if 
that were possible, even than before. 



" Have patience, Kuari," said she, " you must soon 
know everything ; but be patient " 

" Our mistress ? " asked I, at no time very patient, 
and now devoured with questions. 

" Wait a little, wait a little," said she, and she 
broke into weeping again, so that my heart smote me 
at the sight of her grief. But when I would have 
taken her in my arms again to try to comfort her, 
she waved me off, and, shaking up her horse, rode 
on in front. 

The day breaking clearly as we went along, I 
observed that those behind me were two women of my 
mistress's and Eva's, and the man I had brought with 
me from The Gross of Blood to Askeaton. My mind 
was now in such a tangle that I had to resign myself 
passively, and to become, as it were, rather a spec- 
tator of than a participator in what was going on. 

In truth, I felt more at sea than ever before in my 
life, and was even inclined to prick myself, like a 
boy, to see if we were indeed living, or merely moving 
in some spectral land of shades and phantoms. 

Nor did this air of unreality wear away until we 
had arrived at the camp of the Burkes. But as we 
emerged from the trees into the open, we were at 
once recognised by those on guard, for they had seen 
both Eva and myself frequently in the galleys, and 
thus we were well known to them. 

They raised so loud and fervent a shout of 
welcome that the Mac William quickly appeared on 
the ground to ascertain what was happening. He 
gazed at us like one sorely puzzled; then, as he 



came forward to greet us, there was an expression 
of alarm. 

" Eva O'Malley ! " he exclaimed. Then he came 
up to me, and as I held out my hand he gasped 
with astonishment, for my hands were bleeding from 
the unhealed cuts inflicted by the ropes with which I 
had been tied, my dress was in disorder, and my feet, 
which were bare, were spattered with blood. 

" What has happened ? " cried he hoarsely. 
" Where is your mistress? What? What?" 

" Fetch wine," said I, partly to divert his thoughts, 
partly because it seemed as if Eva were about to 
swoon. " Go, fetch us wine ! " 

" Yes, 3 7 es!"" said Eva faintly. Then, with an 
effort of the will, she added, " I will tell you every- 
thing — when I have recovered a little." 

Leading us to his tent, he called for wine, and 
when Eva and I had drunk, and our attendants also, 
she and the Mac William and I were left by ourselves, 
all the others being told to withdraw. 

" Have you heard ? " she asked, looking at Burke. 

" Nothing," replied he, " save that the Spaniards 
are come. The messenger Kuari sent told me that 
de Ricaldo had arrived at Askeaton, and I have since 
heard that their ships lie at Smerwick." 

" Nothing more ? " asked Eva, 

And he shook his head. 

" I hardly am less in the dark than yourself," said 
I. " All that I know besides is that when I returned 
to Askeaton from Smerwick no more than two days 
ago, I was set upon in entering the castle, over- 



powered, knocked senseless, bound, and made a 

u Made a prisoner !" cried Richard Burke. " God's 
wounds ! And why ? " 

" That I as yet know not," I answered. " But Eva 
will perhaps inform us ; this very night did she and 
Fitzgerald deliver me out of Askeaton." 

Richard Burke gazed from one to the other of us, 
too much astonished to speak. I looked at Eva, 
whose eyes were sad and weary, but the colour was 
in her cheeks and her lips trembled only a very little. 

" Yes," said she, " I can tell you ; but let me begin 
at the beginning." 

" More wine ? " said I, and she took a sip from the 
goblet I handed to her. 

" I am tired," said she, with a moan like that 
of a hurt child ; " but you must know all, and that 
quickly. You remember the night in which Juan 
de Ricaldo reached Askeaton ? " asked she of me. 

" I left some hours later that very night," I 
replied, " to meet the Spanish ships." 

" You remember also that two of the justices 
of Munster had come from Limerick with a letter 
from the President demanding that Grace O'Malley 
should be sent to him, so that he could cast her into 
prison ? " 

" I had not heard of that ! " exclaimed Burke. 

" Yes," I said ; " I well remember it." 

" Oh, how am I to tell it ! " said Eva piteously, 
and I bled for her in all my veins. "But say on 
I must. Perchance," continued she, speaking to me 



again, "you observed that Garrett Desmond was 
infatuated with her, and that she did not rebuke 
him as she might have done ? " 

" It was to keep stiff that weak back of his," said 
I, "and to get him to declare boldly against the 

Richard Burke's face was like a black cloud, and 
a groan, deep and terrible, came from his lips. 

" That was it," said Eva. " Do I not know that 
it was ? " said she to Burke. " Ay, well do I know 
it. And Desmond, too, knows it now." 

" Desmond knows ! " cried Burke more cheerfully, 
and he looked almost happy. This was not my case. 
What horrible thing was coming ? I asked myself, 
for that something horrible had taken place I had no 
doubt whatever, and my spirits sank like a stone. 

" Listen," said Eva. "Desmond sent back the two 
justices empty-handed to the President, but what he 
bade them tell him I cannot say. When they de- 
parted I noted their demeanour, and it was not that 
altogether of men who were wholly dissatisfied with 
the issue of their mission. Even then," cried she, 
with a fierceness the like of which was never seen 
in her before, " I believe he meditated treachery." 

" Treachery ! A Desmond a traitor ! " said Burke, 
upon whose countenance the cloud had come back, 
for the drift of Eva's words was clear enough. 

" No sign, however," said she. " did the Earl show 
of anything of the kind. Never was he gayer than 
during the next few days, and I hoped that all was 
as fair for Grace O'Malley's plans as it seemed. Two 



days after you had gone, Ruari, he and his chief men 
and our mistress and myself, with a great host of 
attendants, went down the stream from the castle, 
and made a visit to the two galleys lying in the bay." 

"Tibbot told me of it," said I 

" Desmond had a purpose in it," said Eva, " as 
I can see now. He wished to show Tibbot his friend- 
ship for our mistress, and never after that manifesta- 
tion of it would Tibbot suspect, he thought, that 
there would be aught amiss with her at Askeaton 
in so long as she was with him." 

" A shrewd trick," said I bitterly. 

" What has taken place ? Where is Grace 
O'Malley ? " cried Burke, restless, troubled, tortured 

" I know not where she is," said Eva slowly, while 
the tears gathered in her eyes. " I know not." 
"What?" cried he. 

"Patience," urged I, myself consumed with im- 
patience, anger, and a multitude of terrible passions. 

" Let me go on," said Eva, with a choke. " It was 
shortly after we had returned from the ships," con- 
tinued she bravely — " three or four days perhaps — 
when there was a great stir at the castle, for messen- 
gers had come with tidings of the landing of the 
Spaniards. A letter, too, they brought from Sir James 
Fitzmaurice, who was in command, as it appeared, of 
the expedition. I questioned one of the messengers," 
said Eva shyly, " if he had seen you, Ruari, and he 
told me that he had." 

I secretly blessed my dear for this reference to 



me, but as I did not desire to interrupt her story 
I kept silence. 

" }Ye were all in good heart," said she, " by reason 
of the coming of the men from Spain, and Grace 
O'Malley in particular rejoiced exceedingly. Desmond 
himself, however, was strangely quiet. Then that 

night How can I tell you ? " and she broke down 

utterly and wept aloud. 

Burke's eyes were full of fright, but mine too 
brimmed over when I looked at my dear and saw 
her shaken with sobs. And I wept also, nor am I 
ashamed of these tears of sympathy. 

" Tis no time to weep," said she after a pause, and 
resumed her tale, but in broken accents. " That 
night, as we were retiring to sleep, I observed that 
Grace O'Malley had lost all her gaiety and brightness, 
and was in some great distress of mind. I implored 
her not to withhold her confidence from me, and 
to tell me what was her trouble. 

" Then it appeared that Desmond had read to her 
the letter of Fitzmaurice, and, when she had heard it 
to the end, declared that he had placed his whole 
future in her hands, as he loved her passionately and 
could not live without her. If she would consent to 
become his wife, it would be a very easy matter to get 
a divorce from the countess, and thereafter they 
would be married" 

" His wife !" ejaculated Burke. 

" If she agreed, he said, to this proposal/ 5 con- 
tinued Eva, " she might do with him and all the 
Geraldines as she had a mind, and he would 



immediately put himself at the head of the rebellion 
against the Queen, if that was her wish." 

Richard Burke, unable to control his feelings any- 
longer, jumped to his feet. 

" What was her reply ? " he demanded. 

" Wait — wait for another moment/' entreated Eva. 

" Patience," urged I once more, though God knows 
I had no stock of it myself. 

"If she refused " said Eva. 

" She did refuse," cried Burke. 

" If she refused/' continued Eva, " to become his 
wife, then not only would he not join with the 
Spaniards, but he would aid the English against 
them. When she pointed out to him that he had 
compromised himself both by his intercourse with 
Spain and with Fitzmaurice, and also by harbouring 
herself, a proclaimed rebel, he hinted — for at first 
he would not put his thoughts into so many words — 
that he knew of a way in which he might very 
readily make his peace with the President of Munster, 
and that was by sending to him a pledge of his 
fidelity to the Queen, which he was well informed 
would be acceptable to him and to her Highness." 

" Fidelity to the Queen ! " exclaimed I, glowing 
with wrath. 

Any child could have foreseen what was coming. 
My mistress had indeed played with fire, and it 
needed no wizard to tell me that she had been 
scorched by its flames. 

" Grace O'Malley," Eva went on, not heeding my 
interruption, " did not fail to understand his meaning. 
t 2 



She herself was the pledge of his fidelity to which he 
had referred. She must give herself to him, or he 
would betray her to the English; that, and not 
obscurely, was the threat he made — that, and nothing 
else. And she knew that she was in his power.'' 

" Horrible, horrible ! " said Burke in anguish. 

" Desmond," said Eva, " strove, however, to con- 
ceal the trap under the cloak of an appeal to her 
devotion to the cause. She had only to say the word, 
and the standards of the Geraldines would be arrayed 
against the Queen, and then, with the English so 
unprepared as they were, success was certain. It 
rested with her. Hers was it to bid him go or stay." 

It was a strong temptation, I thought, but I was 
too overcome to speak. 

" Then," continued Eva, " he sought to inflame 
her ambition. As his wife, suggested he, might she 
not become not only Countess of Desmond and the 
greatest lady in the south, but even Queen of 
Ireland, once the English had been driven out of 
the country ? " 

Another strong temptation, thought I. 

Desmond had certainly played his cards adroitly 
enough. He had sought to touch her through her 
hatred of the English, her love for her country, and 
her ambition — all powerful forces. Women had 
sacrificed themselves, nay, had willingly given them- 
selves, for less. And I could well understand 
that to a soul like hers self-sacrifice was very 

" But even," said Eva, * in the background of all 



his speaking, there lurked, like an evil beast, that 
hint of what he would do, if she refused to submit 
herself to him." 

After all, I said to myself, Desmond was a fool, 
for that was the worst way to address a woman who 
had the spirit of my mistress. 

" To gain a little time, perhaps to escape from 
Askeaton," continued Eva, " Grace O'Malley asked to 
be allowed the night to consider what he had said. 
And to this he agreed, saying roughly, however, as 
they parted, that she must have her answer ready for 
him in the morning, and that there must be an end 
to trifling. All this she told me, and then we sought 
some way of escape, but Desmond had taken good 
care that there should be none, for we soon found 
that we were prisoners." 

" She had no intention of consenting to Des- 
mond," said Burke, and his voice was full of pride 
and joy. 

" No," said Eva, looking at him with kind eyes, 
notwithstanding the grief in which she was. 

" Go on, go on," urged I, half vexed with them 

" I know not," said Eva, * what was said or done 
when the morning came, but I have not even seen 
her since." And her tears fell fast again, while 
Burke and I were smitten into a gloomy silence. 

" Have you heard nothing of her ? " asked I, at 

" One of my women — she is here now — found out 
that Desmond had taken her to one of his castles 



nearer to Limerick than Askeaton is, with what object 
may be easily guessed." 
Burke started up madly. 

" What is to be done ? What is to be done ?" cried he. 

" A moment ! " said I, and I turned to Eva. 
" There is more to tell, is there not ? " 

"Yes," replied she. "After Grace O'Malley had 
been carried away I was given a certain liberty, for 
I was permitted to move about a part of the castle, 
although I was always watched. One day I chanced 
to see Dermot Fitzgerald, and though he tried to 
avoid me as soon as he perceived me, I ran up 
to him and caught him by the arm. I begged and 
entreated him by our old friendship to tell me 
what had become of our mistress, and what was 
going on. 

" When he would not answer, I went on my 
knees," said my dear, bravely, looking at me, " and 
reminding him of what I had done for him when 
he lay wounded, and of what Grace O'Malley had 
done both for him and de Vilela, besought him to 
have some pity on me, a woman." 

" Go on, go on ! " said I hoarsely. 

" He was so far moved," said Eva, " as to tell 
me that my mistress was well, and that no hurt 
would be done me. Not that I thought about 
myself. I saw him again once or twice, and be- 
sought him to find some means by which I might 
communicate with Grace O'Malley, but he said that 
was impossible. Then I implored him to set me 
free, but that, too, he said was not in his power." 



Eva stopped speaking ; then she began again, her 
voice strangely soft and tender. 

" I saw you, Ruari, carried up the stairs two days 
ago — bound, bleeding, almost dead as it seemed, and 
Fitzgerald was along with the men who bore you in 
their arms. Later that evening I saw him, and 
anxiously asked what had occurred. I now perceived 
that he was unhappy, like one burdened with remorse. 

" Then he said that you had come to the castle 
unexpectedly, and that, while it was deemed necessary 
to make you a prisoner, no violence had been intended 
towards you. He declared that he would give all the 
world if only it would put our affairs right again ; in- 
deed, he was like one gone clean mad with trouble, ex- 
claiming that he was the cause of all our woes ! " 

" The cause of all our woes ! " cried I. 

" You remember Mistress Sabina Lynch, Ruari," 
said Eva. " She it was, said he, who had told the 
President of Munster to demand Grace O'Malley as 
a pledge from Desmond of his loyalty to the Queen, 
and it was through him — for he loves this woman — 
that she knew our mistress was at Askeaton, though 
he had never meant to betray her." 

Verily, as I said before, if I failed in my duty 
when I suffered Sabina Lynch to live, I was 
grievously punished for it. 

" Yet not so does it appear to me/' said Eva, 
as if she had seen into my heart ! " For Desmond 
is Desmond — a mass of treachery, a thing, a beast ! 
But when I saw how Dermot Fitzgerald felt about 
the matter, I implored him to try to set you, Ruari, 



at least, at liberty. And he was the more ready to 
listen to me because of this very Sabina Lynch, for, 
said he, she owed her life to you, and he wished to 
pay back the debt for this woman, whom he loves." 

Kichard Burke kept muttering to himself, repeat- 
ing, as I thought, " Sabina Lynch ! Sabina Lynch ! 99 
and what else I could not guess. 

" Next day," said Eva, " a large number of the 
Geraldines left Askeaton, and Fitzgerald, being won 
over entirely to me, told me he would endeavour 
that night, there being but few men in the castle, 
to effect your escape and mine also. In the even- 
ing the gallowglasses drank deep — deeper even than 
they knew, for their wine and aqua vitse had been 
drugged — and then, when all was still, he came 
to me who was ready, waiting. I asked him 
where you were, and he replied that he wished 
me to go with him to you, as you would trust 
me, and not, perhaps, him." 

"I see it all," said I. 

" Going up to the room where you lay," con- 
tinued Eva, " we heard a noise ; that made us pause, 
then we went on again — and you know the rest. 
The noise we had heard had so far alarmed us 
that we thought it best to tell you what we did. 
Fitzgerald had seen to everything — said I not 
rightly that he was my friend ? " 

And now Burke cried again, as Eva stopped 
speaking, " What is to be done ? What is to be 
done ? " For myself, while I echoed his question, 
I was in so great a coil that I was as one dumb. 




" What is to be done ? " asked Richard Burke. 

"We must find out, first of all, where Grace 
O'Malley is." It was Eva who spoke, and what she 
said was true. Our mistress must now be our chief 
— nay, our whole concern. 

" Yes, yes ! " cried I, roused to action, and looking 
with admiration at this weak little woman, who had 
shown herself so strong. 

"Let us call in the woman you spoke of," said 
Burke. "She may remember something which will 
put us on the scent." 

" I fear she has told me all that she knows," said 
Eva ; " but summon her here." 

While we waited for her I was going over what 
Eva had told us, and trying also to recall exactly 
what had been the words used — even more than the 
words, the manner of Fitzmaurice — when I had 
parted from him at Tralee. And as I considered 
the matter the conviction was borne in upon me 
that he had had some information as to what had 
happened in regard to Desmond and my mistress, 
but that he had purposely said nothing of it to me. 

For one thing, he had evidently intended to keep 
me with him, and so to prevent me from returning 



to Askeaton ; and, for another, he had spoken of 
Grace O'Malley in a way which was little short of 
an insult, and which I was quick to resent. Then 
de Vilela had intervened between us, Fitzinaurice 
had made an apology, and I had left Tralee without 
opposition or further words. 

What had de Vilela said when I had declared 
that my place was with my mistress ? That I had 
spoken a true word, and I remembered that when 
he uttered this it was with little of his customary 
serenity of demeanour. 

I concluded, as I reflected on what had passed, 
that both Fitzmaurice and de Vilela must have 
been aware — at least, to some extent, of Desmond's 
base conduct with respect to her. 

Nor was the cause of this silence far to seek. 
But imperfectly informed, most probably, of the 
whole circumstances, and what they had heard 
having reached them from some source favourable 
to Desmond, they were, perhaps, inclined to lay the 
blame upon my mistress. 

Then, the Earl's adhesion to the cause was so 
essential for its success that whoever jeopardised it 
would be looked upon with hatred, and thus they 
would be the more prejudiced against her. 

Yet Fitzmaurice had himself told me in effect 
that he was not sure of Desmond, and this before 
he knew anything of Grace O'Malley. Perchance, 
however, he had persuaded himself that he believed 
what he wished to believe. 

And de Vilela ? He had sprung to the defence 



of my mistress, but if he knew what had occurred, 
why had he not spoken out? No doubt, I told 
myself, it was because, while he was ready to uphold 
her honour, he deemed that his duty towards his 
master, the King of Spain, was paramount, and he 
had therefore submitted to Fitzmaurice, who was 
his leader, and who had enjoined silence upon him. 
This, I surmised, was the explanation. 
How much did they know ? 

Could they say, I wondered, where Desmond had 
put my mistress ? 

Where was she at this moment ? 

The tire-woman had now entered the tent, but, 
although she was most willing to tell us all she knew, 
she had no knowledge, it appeared, of the place to 
which Grace O'Malley had been taken. 

"A castle a few miles from Limerick," and no 
more could we get from her. And Desmond, or the 
chiefs who regarded him as their prince, had more 
than one castle answering this description. 

The important matter was that Desmond had not 
at once delivered her over to the President of Munster. 

First, he was trying to convince her that his 
was no empty threat ; and, second, to bend or break 
her spirit. But I knew that, while he might succeed 
in the one, he never would in the other. And he 
would see this so soon that I had no doubt whatever 
that at most not more than two or three days would 
elapse before she had been lodged in the prison of 
Limerick, for I was now certain of the complete 
perfidy of Desmond. 



The man who could betray his guest was not 
likely to be true to any cause. That he had sent 
Fitzmaurice's letter to the President was, I con- 
sidered, a thing not only possible, but in the highest 
degree probable. Thus the prospect on all sides of 
us was dark indeed. 

Sooner or later, then, Grace O'Malley would be 
in the power of the English, at the mercy of the 
President of Minister, a helpless captive in Limerick 
gaol ! She might be there already, for aught we 
knew, and therefore it behoved us at once to en- 
deavour to discover if she were shut up in Limerick. 

And, if haply this were the case, what could we 
do ? What could my mistress look for at the hands 
of the English ? How could we assist her ? It 
might even now be too late, and my flesh crept 
upon my bones at the thought. 

" I will go to Limerick," said I, as the result of 
my reflections ; but when we had discussed the 
matter it appeared to be better that someone else 
should be sent. 

" I am too marked a man," said Burke ; and one 
of his gallowglasses would do as well, for, if Grace 
O'lTalley were in Limerick gaol, there was not a soul 
in that city who would not know of it, and thus 
anyone on the spot could easily obtain the knowledge 
we sought. 

I was not persuaded to this course without much 
difficulty, and Burke himself was most determined at 
first to go; but there was the same objection in his 
case that there was in mine. Neither of us could have 



been long in the streets of Limerick without being 
recognised. At length, a messenger was despatched, 
Burke going out from the tent to tell him what he 
was to do. 

No sooner had Burke left Eva and myself alone 
together, than my dear fell a- weeping, as if her heart 
would break, all her wonderful fortitude utterly gone. 
I took her into my arms — these great, strong arms 
of mine, now weak and trembling like those of a little 
child — and tried to soothe her grief. Perhaps my 
love and our common sorrow taught us what to say, 
yet I spoke not of love at all. But what I said and 
what she said about ourselves I cannot put into 
writing — and I would not, if I could, for there are 
words and there are times which are sacred beyond 
expression ; and such were those words, and such this 

She was my love and I was hers ; and though we 
spoke not of it, we both knew, and the knowledge of 
it folded us about like a garment. 

Much, too, had we to say to each other about 
de Vilela and about Fitzgerald, and how strangely 
they had passed in and out, out and in, of the woof 
of our lives. She evidently had a kind of affection 
for them both, and when I was inclined to question 
her about this she said that they had both been 
wounded and helpless, and that she had nursed and 
tended them, and so had come by this feeling. But 
ever as our talk came back to Grace O'Malley our 
hearts were heavy. 

The messenger whom the Mac William had sent 



to Limerick returned in the evening. He had seen 
and had spoken to many of the inhabitants of that 
city, and he could hear of nothing which indicated 
that Grace O'Malley was there. We took courage 
from this report, hoping that the worst had not 
come upon her. But the man had something more 
to tell us. 

As he was on his way back from Limerick he 
had fallen in with a great gathering of armed men, 
moving on eastward, some three or lour miles to the 
south of the city. These were Spaniards, he declared, 
and other foreigners, as well as a large number of the 
Irish. And there were priests with them, and in the 
midst of them a banner, all blue and gold, with the 
figure of the Lord upon it. 

This could be nothing other than the army of 
Fitzmaurice, accompanied by Sanders and the 
standard blessed by the Pope. 

I questioned the man narrowly as to the place 
where he had seen them, and if he had heard where 
they were going. He replied that one had told him 
that they were to camp that night on the banks of 
the river Mulkern, not far from the Slieve Phelim 
Mountains, and that when he met them they could 
not have been above two leagues' distance from the 
ground which had been chosen. Feeling fairly 
certain that Fitzmaurice would be with them, and, 
perhaps, de Yileia also, I resolved to set out at once 
for their camp. 

If I saw Fitzmaurice, I would try to find out from 
him where Grace O'Malley was, and, further. I was 



determined to appeal to him to endeavour to prevent 
Desmond from carrying out his plans. As my 
mistress had not been taken into Limerick, the 
probability was that the Earl had not finally broken 
with Fitzmaurice, and that negotiations were still 
going on between them. There was, therefore, a 
chance that Fitzmaurice might prevail upon him to 
set her at liberty. 

" Tell Fitzrnaurice," said Eichard Burke, when I 
had informed him of what I proposed, " that unless 
Grace O'Malley is released immediately, the Burkes 
of Mayo will take neither part nor lot with the 
Geraldines in this affair." 

This suggested to me a possibility I had not yet 
contemplated, but I thrust it away from me, telling 
myself that Burke was too much distraught to know 
what he was saying. But it kept coming back to 
my mind, as I rode that night along with a guard 
of the Burkes towards the Mulkern. 

When we were within a few paces of the camp, 
which we found without any difficulty, we were 
challenged by a Spanish sentinel. I could not give 
him password or countersign, and he had raised his 
piece to his shoulder to fire, when he suddenly 
dropped it again, saying he remembered my face, 
having seen me at Limerick and also at Tralee. 
Having asked him if Sir James Fitzmaurice was 
here, he replied that he was, as were also the other 
leaders. When I told him that I had business with 
Sir James, and when he saw how small was the guard 
with me, he said he would take it upon himself to 



allow me to pass within the lines, although it was 
contrary to his orders. He therefore directed me, 
pointing through the camp fires, to the spot where 
Fitzmaurice's tent had been pitched. 

And now I must put on record, as carefully as 
I can, what passed between Fitzmaurice and myself, 
so that all men can judge whether Richard Burke, 
Grace O'Malley's lover, and I, Ruari Macdonald, her 
servant, were justified in what we afterwards did, 
or not. 

When Fitzmaurice saw me he was unmistakably 
surprised, for he started violently as I entered his 
tent. Perhaps he had thought I was still immured 
at Askeaton, and so out of the way ; but that I know 
not. Besides, when we had last parted it had been 
in no very friendly fashion. Whatever his feelings 
now were, he put on a garb of welcome as soon as his 
first surprise was past. 

" Greeting — a thousand greetings!" said he. "You 
have come to join us ? How many men have you 
brought with you ? " 

" Greeting ! " said I, then I fixed my gaze sternly 
on him, for if I was right in the opinions I held 
all words of welcome were out of place between us ; 
and continued, "Sir James, I have not come to join 
you — not at present, at any rate. That is not the 
business which brings me here. I have come to 
ask you if you know where my mistress, Grace 
O'Malley, is ? " 

I was in no humour to pick and choose what forms 
of speech I should use, and I spoke out sharply. 



"Sir" said he, frowning, all his cordiality dis- 
appearing instantly, " what should I know of your 
mistress, Grace O'Malley ? " And there was a trace 
of mockery in the way he uttered the last four words. 

" Answer me, Sir J aines," said I again. " Nay, 
you need not, for I can see that you do know." 

" I have heard something," said he, at length. 

" Do you know how the matter stands between 
her and Desmond?" asked I. "Do you know that 
she was his guest — invited by him to Askeaton ? 
Do you know that she has tried to bind him to the 
cause ? Do you know that he has told her that he 
has a passion for her, that he holds her as a prisoner 
in one of his castles because she will not submit to 
him, and that he has threatened to give her up to 
the English, and to make common cause with them 
against you, if she will not yield herself to him ? " 

Fitzmaurice said nothing, but sat scowling at me, 
and biting his lip. 

" Have you no answer ? " asked L " You say you 
have heard something; perhaps you knew all this 
before I left you at Tralee." 

Then changing my tone to one almost of entreaty, 
I said, " Sir James, bethink yourself before it is too 
late. Nothing but evil can come from these acts 
of Desmond," and I gave him the message with 
which Kichard Burke had charged me. " Grace 
O'Malley," I concluded, " must be set free, and that 
at once. Do you know where she is ? " 

"Kuari Macdonald!" thundered he with curses, 
" you always had a proud stomach ! Who are you 



to speak to me in this fashion? What have I to 
do with your mistress ? What if I do know where 
she is ? What affair of mine is it ? Go and seek 

But he had said enough. 

" You know where she is," cried I, wildly. " Tell 
me, and I will go and find Desmond." 

" Ay, and ruin all," said he half to himself. " No, 
I will not tell you ; that would be but to add to 
the mischief. No ! Grace O'Malley must yield to 
Desmond, and then all will be well." 

" Yield to Desmond ! " exclaimed I. " She will 
never do that." 

" Ay, but she will be forced to do so," said he, 
with a horrible smile. 

"Never ! " said I. " I know her better than you 
do ; she will die rather than submit." 

" Then," said he, fiercely, " let her die ! " 

" Is that your last word ? " asked I, furiously. 

He rose up at me like an angry beast, and, 
shaking his outstretched hand at me, shouted, 
" Curses on you both ! Who is your mistress, as 
you call her, and what is she to stand in the way 
of a Desmond ? Who is she to come between us 
and the deliverance of Ireland ? Shall a woman 
block up the path — only a woman ! " And on he 
went in his wrath, saying many injurious things of 
Grace O'Malley, until at last he applied to her the 
vilest of names. 

As his rage swelled, and his language became 
more and more insulting, I grew calmer, until I was 



possessed by a very devil of deadly coldness, But 
when he used the expression I have hinted at, I 
could keep my peace no longer. 

" You lie ! " said I, and out came my sword. Nor 
was he less ready; and there we stood for a second 
facing each other, with the candles flickering this 
way and that between us. Then he thrust his sword 
back into its sheath, and saying, " What need of this 
fool's blood ! " shouted loudly to someone outside the 
tent. There was the quick tramp of men, and in 
came some Spaniards, with de Vilela at their head. 

" You here ! " cried de Vilela, when he saw me. 

"Secure him, bind him," said Fitzmaurice, 
pointing at me. 

De Vilela looked from one to the other of us, 
his face very grave, but did not stir. 

" Bind him ! I command you," said Fitzmaurice. 

De Vilela stood still. 

f< What ! " shouted Fitzmaurice. 

De Vilela said slowty, " May I ask, senor " 

" You may ask nothing," yelled Fitzmaurice. 

De Vilela went white to the lips ; but he spoke 
with that habitual courtesy of his, as, pulling out his 
sword and offering it to Fitzmaurice by the handle, 
he said — 

" I cannot do this thing, for this man is as my 
brother! I am your prisoner also, senor. Do with 
me as you will ! " Then this loyal gentleman added, 
turning to the Spanish soldiers, "Long live the 
King ! " and they, too, said, " Long live the 

u 2 



" Take mine ! " cried I, holding out my sword 
to him — so moved out of myself was I. 

"Nay ; that I cannot do either," said he. 

" Are you mad ? " asked Fitzmaurice of de Vilela. 
" You must be mad. Has that woman bewitched 
you too ? " And he wrung his hands. 

" Senor," said I to de Vilela, " words have passed 
between Sir J ames Fitzmaurice and myself about my 
mistress that can only be wiped out in one way," and 
I glanced at my sword. 

De Vilela sighed. 

" Senor Fitzmaurice will, I am sure, not refuse ? " 
asked the Spaniard, courteous as ever. 

"No, I will not refuse," said Fitzmaurice. "All 
men know me ; but it cannot be now." 

" Yes," said de Vilela — Fitzmaurice had not taken 
the proffered sword — "no one will impugn your 
courage. But if you do not refuse, you will not seek 
to detain this man ? " And he looked searchingly at 
Fitzmaurice, who did not answer, but curtly nodded 

" Go, Senor Ruari ! " said de Vilela ; but I stood 

" Go," said Fitzmaurice. " Do not fear, we shall 
meet again ! " 

" To meet again, then," I said, and went out from 
the tent. 

Summoning my men, I returned, darkly brooding 
over these strange happenings, to the camp of the 
Burkes. I had failed entirely to compass the object 
for which I had set out, for I was no nearer knowing 



where Desmond had taken my mistress. But Fitz- 
maurice knew, and when I recalled what he had said 
my heart overflowed with bitterness. 

I would be just to this man, if I could. I can 
see now, looking across the grave of the years, that 
he viewed my mistress solely in the light of an 
obstacle in his path, and so he cared not what her 
fate was, so long as she was out of the way. 

"Only a woman!" he had said of her, and that 
she was only a woman doubtless increased his sense 
of injury. But he forgot that it was for "only a 
woman " that men have ever fought and died. 

When I arrived at the camp, Richard Burke was 
waiting for me. When he had heard me to the end, 
he said, " You should have killed him ! " I had had 
the same thought myself, but de Vilela and the 
Spanish soldiers had come too quickly upon the 
scene for that. Besides, we should meet again, and 
thus I comforted my soul. 

" Let us to sleep," said I. 

" I cannot sleep," said he, and I heard him pacing 
up and down through the rest of what remained of 
the night, for though I shut my eyes, no sleep came 
to me either. 




I have seen a great swell of the sea, a mountain of a 
wave — caused by some violent storm which has spent 
its worst fury many leagues away — roll in from the 
ocean, lift a ship from her moorings, and dash her to 
pieces on the rocks. 

As I rose in the morning and stepped out of the 
tent into the dewy freshness of the day, I thought we 
were not unlike that ship. For I could not disguise 
from myself that our affairs had suffered shipwreck. 

Grace O'Malley was a prisoner, and I was unable 
to deliver her. I, her servant, was bound before any- 
thing else to try to free her from her captivity, and I 
did not even know where she was; and when I had 
sought to find it out, it had been with the result that 
a furious quarrel had sprung up between Fitzmaurice, 
the leader of the Irish, and myself. 

He had not only refused to help me to obtain her 
liberty, but he had slandered and contemned her to 
my face. Not under such a man could I or the 
O'Malleys fight. Nay, there now could be nothing 
between us but the deadliest feud. 

And yet we had all come to Kerry to stand by the 
side of this man and his Spaniards in the rising against 
the Queen ! That, at least, was now impossible. How 



could we support one who had spoken of our mistress 
and chief as he had done ? And the Burkes were in 
the same position as we ourselves. 

As I paced along the ground, Kichard Burke, 
gaunt and hollow-eyed, joined me. Burning with 
resentment and indignation, he was eager for instant 
action, and made the wild proposal that I should 
immediately bring all the men from the galleys, and, 
having made a junction with him and his forces, 
march against Fitzmaurice. 

At the first blush of the thing I had almost said 
yes; but a little cool reflection showed me that not 
only were the odds against us overwhelming, but 
that, even if we were successful, I should be no nearer 
my main object, which was the release of Grace 
O'Malley. So far as I was concerned, all the con- 
siderations had to bow to that. 

Nor could I readily bring myself in a moment, as 
it were, into an attitude of hostility to Fitzmaurice, 
for he represented our cause against the English, and 
to fight him was, in effect, to help the enemy. 

Having told the MacWilliam all that was in my 
mind, and having won him over to my way of think- 
ing, we considered how we should now proceed. It 
appeared to me to be best that we should all return 
to the ships, for the camp of the Burkes, being in the 
heart of Desmond's country, was very open to attack 
from the Geraldines, who could no longer be regarded 
as friends, and so might easily be surprised and taken. 

There was also the strong argument that, if any 
disaster overtook the galleys in our absence, we 


should be completely cut off' from any way of getting 
back to Connaught, and our situation would become 
desperate and well nigh hopeless. 

Another reason was that we could, with even 
greater advantage than from the place where the 
Burkes were camped, send out from the galleys 
scouts and spies, with a view to ascertaining where 
Desmond was. 

To that I now bent my whole energy, for I felt 
sure that so long as Grace O'Malley was not in the 
gaol of Limerick — if she were, then would she be 
harder to come at than ever — she would be confined 
in some castle which the Earl occupied with his 
forces, and where he would remain until he was 
convinced that he could neither bend nor break her 
will. For that, I knew, would be the end. 

Having struck our camp, we marched to the west- 
ward, so as to avoid Askeaton; then, going to the 
north, were safely on board the galleys by the 
evening, having only encountered on our journey 
several small bands of the Irish on their way to 
Fitzmaurice, whom we suffered to pass on, having 
first asked them if they had any information as to 
where Desmond was. They had been told, it ap- 
peared, that the Earl had raised the standard of 
revolt, and was in camp with Fitzmaurice on the 
Mulkern. Nor did we undeceive them. 

For a week I kept the galleys sailing up and down 
the Shannon, stopping every mile or two and sending 
men ashore — sometimes going myself — to speak with 
the inhabitants ; but never a word could we hear of 



Desmond, though occasionally we heard of Fitz- 
maurice, who had not moved from the position he 
had taken up. 

Each evening of that terrible week found me less 
hopeful and more despondent; in truth, I would have 
despaired had it not been for the constant solace 
of Eva, who seemed to have changed herself into 
another person, so brave and steadfast was she. 

Hitherto I had kept well away from Limerick, but 
now I resolved to bring the galleys as close up to the 
walls of the city as I dared. Limerick was a great 
and strongly fortified place, and, therefore, to be 
avoided by us; but it was the centre of all that part 
of Ireland, and there might be opportunities in its 
neighbourhood of hearing more fully what was going 
forward. I was encouraged to do this, also, by the 
fact that there were singularly few ships in the river 
— no doubt owing to the presence of the Spaniards in 
the country. 

When we were yet perhaps a league from the 
walls we saw a small boat with a sail coming towards 
us. I looked keenly at her, and even as I looked at 
her she was suddenly put about, and was headed 
back for the city, for they evidently did not like our 

Two of the men in her seemed to be soldiers, and 
I signalled Tibbot, whose galley was leading, to 
capture her — which he did after a short chase, the 
occupants of the boat surrendering without any 

I had the two soldiers, as they proved to be, 



brought on board of The Gross of Blood, and having 
assured them that I intended them no harm, asked 
how matters stood in the city. The first words they 
uttered were enough to stun me. 

" Grace O'Malley," said one of them, " was brought 
into Limerick yesterday, and delivered up to Sir 
Nicholas Malby." 

" Grace O'Malley in Limerick," I cried, "and Sir 
Nicholas Malby there also ! " 

The fatality of the thing completely broke down 
my control, and I could not speak for some minutes. 
I had somehow felt all along that my mistress would 
be given up to the English by Desmond, but to be 
told that this had actually come to pass was none the 
less a crushing blow. And to Sir Nicholas Malby, 
the Colonel of Connaught, our implacable foe ! 

The two men gazed at me curiously, seeing how 
overcome I was. 

" How comes Sir Nicholas Malby to be in 
Limerick ? " I asked, pulling myself together. Con- 
naught is his government, not Munster ; how does he 
happen to be here ? " 

* You surely must know/' said the man who had 
spoken before, " that Sir James Fitzmaurice, one of 
the Desmonds, has arrived in the country at the head 
of a large army from Spain, and that the Irish people 
are flocking in to him from all quarters WJ 

" Yes," said I, shortly, " I know all that:-' ■ 

" Sir Nicholas Malby was summoned by the Presi- 
dent of Munster," said the soldier, "in hot haste to 
the defence of Limerick. We were in garrison at the 



time at Athlone, several hundred of us, and Sir 
Nicholas, having marshalled us in our companies, 
immediately set off in response down the Shannon, 
and two days ago we arrived here. The President 
is terror-stricken, and the whole city trembles with 

" How came you to be without the walls ? n I 
asked. " And at such a time ? M 

"We were trying to escape," said the man, "for 
we heard that the city would soon be taken by the 
Spaniards, of whom there are thousands, and that 
everyone of us would be tortured and slain by them." 

" Is the Earl of Desmond in Limerick ? " I next 
inquired — noting, however, how the number of Fitz- 
maurice's men had been exaggerated. 

" No," replied the man. " He sent Grace O'Malley 
bound in chains into the city to Sir Nicholas Malby, 
but he came not himself. Tis said that he will 
neither join the Spaniards, nor yet assist us, but holds 
himself aloof from both until he sees on whose side 
fortune will declare itself." 

And this reed of rottenness, this catspaw of the 
wind, was the man whom my mistress, led on by the 
memories of the past greatness of the house of 
Desmond, and by the hope that under him the Irish 
might unite, had called our natural leader ! 

It had been the noble dream of a noble soul, that 
vision of hers ; but, like many another noble dream, it 
was woven aroimd a man incapable of filling the part 
he was called upon to play, and so was nothing but a 



The folly and wickedness of Desmond seemed to 
me to be almost inconceivable. Baulked by the firm- 
ness of my mistress, he had wreaked his wrath upon 
her by handing her over to the one man in all Ireland 
who might be supposed to regard her capture with the 
utmost joy, and who would take a fiendish delight in 
torturing her. 

Having gratified his hatred of her — for such his 
love no doubt had become — the Earl sought to 
stand in with both sides in the approaching struggle 
by coming out openly on behalf of neither. It 
needed not that one should be a prophet to forecast 
that Desmond would fall and be crushed between 
the two. 

While such thoughts passed rapidly through my 
mind, the chief thing which I had just been told — that 
Grace O'Malley was immured in the gaol of Limerick 
— threw everything else into the shade. In the 
hope that the men might have heard what had 
occurred to her after her arrival in Limerick, I asked 
them : 

" Do you know, or did you hear, what Sir 
Nicholas Malby did in respect of Grace O'Malley, 
after she had been delivered up to him ? " 

" I was one of his guard," said the man who 
acted as spokesman for the twain, "when she was 
brought before him. Sir Nicholas eyed her with 
great sternness; albeit it was easy to see that he 
was well-pleased to have her in his power, for she 
had wrought the English terrible injuries in Gal way, 
and had set him at defiance. However, she did not 



quail nor humble herself, but bore herself like a 
princess, as, they say, she is." 

" What said Sir Nicholas ? M asked I. 

" He demanded of her many things," replied 
the man, * but she would answer him not at all. 
Whereupon he was enraged against her, and gave 
orders that the city gallows should be got ready 
forthwith, and that she should be hanged im- 

" Did she not speak even then \ n 

u Xo. She looked at him very calmly and tran- 
quilly, like one, indeed, who had already tasted of 
the bitterness of death and had no fear of it. A 
strange woman, and a brave ! But 'tis said she is 
a witch." 

" What happened after that I " 

" We were leading her away to the square in 
which the gibbet stands, when Sir Nicholas called 
to us to come back, for he had changed his mind, 
as it now appeared. Said he to her, ' You will not 
dance in the air to-day, mistress, but 1 shall take 
good care that you dance not out of Limerick as 
you did out of Galway ! ' But to what he alluded 
when he said that I know not. Thereafter she was 
cast into one of the dungeons of the place." 

* One of the dungeons ? " asked I. 

"Yes — there are several deep ; dark dungeons 
below the gaol of Limerick, and she was thrust into 
one of these." 

I had heard enough, and having sent the two 
soldiers away in charge of some of my men, I went 



and told Kichard Burke the evil tidings. Up to 
this moment he must have cherished the hope that 
Grace O'Malley would in some way or other escape, 
for he was utterly unmanned on hearing where and 
in whose hands she was, and abandoned himself to 
the wildest grief. The very colour of his face 
showed that he already regarded her as one dead. 
As for myself, there had grown upon me a kind of 
coldness, and an icy numbness, as it were, which 
seemed to have killed all feeling within me for the time. 

And perhaps it was well that this was the case, 
else I should never have been able to carry the 
news to Eva. Yet she must be told, and tell her 
I did. 

"So long as she is alive" exclaimed Eva, when 
I had come to the end of my tale, " there is hope. 
I will not believe that it is her destiny to perish in 
this manner ! " 

What had become of the timid, shrinking girl? 
For my dear was transformed altogether, being now 
full of courage, and of purpose and determination. 

" Kemember," said she, " what Sir Nicholas is ; 
how greedy of money he is, how avaricious ! Think 
you he would not sell Grace O'Malley for gold ? 
Only offer him enough, and he will set her free." 

I thought of the immense treasure which lay in 
the Caves of Silence under the Hill of Sorrow, and 
for a minute I considered that Eva's suggestion 
might avail us. But the caves were far away 
from Limerick, and to go thither was out of the 



Besides, the English rule was too seriously threat- 
ened to permit Sir Nicholas to be moved at this 
time by bribes, however rich they were. If he 
opened his hands, liberating Grace O'Malley with 
his right, and taking her gold with his left, it would 
not be now: the situation of the English was far 
too perilous for that. 

All this I saw with perfect clearness, and when 
I spoke to Eva of it, she was at first inclined to fly 
out at me, and to reproach me for my apathy. 
Yet, God wot, it was not apathy; I simply could 
not see any way out for us, or, rather, for our 
mistress, no matter in what direction I looked. All 
that I could think of was that I should get into 
Limerick under some disguise, and then endeavour 
to find the means of effecting her escape. 

When I mentioned this to Eva, she replied that 
to carry out such a plan would, or might, involve 
too long a delay, for our mistress, being already con- 
demned, might be executed at any moment. This 
was true ; but, as I could not conceive of any other 
scheme, I resolved to set about undertaking it, and 
that no later than next day. 

That night my sleep was troubled and uneasy, 
and I tossed restlessly about, so that when the first 
light of day was seen I sprang from my couch. As 
I did so I heard Calvagh O'Halloran call my name 
loudly, and at the same instant there was the sound 
of oars ; then Calvagh, as I stepped on deck, came 
running towards me, crying something I could not 
quite distinguish, and pointing to The Grey Wolf, 



which had slipped her anchor, and was now being 
rowed away from us in the direction of Limerick. 

All this came upon me so suddenly that I could 
scarcely grasp the meaning of it, until I noticed 
Eva O'Malley standing on the poop of The Grey 
Wolf, and waving her hand to me in farewell. 

" Stop ! stop ! " I cried ; but on went the galley 
at racing speed. " Stop ! stop ! " I cried again ; but 
received no other response than that given by those 
waving hands. I was on the point of ordering 
Calvagh to get The Cross of Blood under weigh, 
when I observed that Eva had sent Art O'Malley by 
one of the small boats of The Grey Wolf to my 
galley with a message for me. 

"What is this? What is this ? " I asked of 

" Eva O'Malley bids me tell you/' replied he, 
"that she is going in to Limerick to see Sir 
Nicholas Malby." 

" What ? " I cried. " Has she gone crazed ! To 
see Nicholas Malby ! What frenzy is this ? " 

"Tis no frenzy, Ruari Macdonald," said Art 
O'Malley, " but her settled wilL And she bade me 
say that you must wait here, and she will return 
to-night, or else, if she come not, that we must all 
go to Limerick to-morrow." 

" What is her intention ? " 

" That I know not. It was not till I was in the 
boat that she gave me these words for you, and 
none of us imagined, when the galley set out, that 
you were not aware of what she was about." 



I looked at the man in wonder. 
" Have you no suspicion at all of what she would 
be at ? " 

" To see Sir Nicholas Malby — as she said ; I know 
no more." 

In the circumstances there was nothing left me 
to do but to wait and wonder, to wonder and to 

What interpretation was I to put on this extra- 
ordinary, this rash act of Evas ? Did she think 
she would be able to bribe Sir Nicholas ? Was 
that her idea ? Or did she have some other plan ? 

But all these surmises were powerless to console 
me; and it was with a gladness of heart to which 
I had long been a stranger that I saw The Grey 
Wolf come up alongside of us in the afternoon. 

And who was that who stood by the side of my 
dear on the poop-deck ? Richard Burke was with 
me, and I cried to him to look. 

" Who is that ? " asked I, astounded, doubting if 
my eyes did not juggle with me. 

"You may well ask," said he. "Some miracle 
must have come to pass ! 99 

"Then 'tis he!" I cried. 

" Sir Nicholas Malby himself," said Burke, and 
his face was instantly lighted up with a new hope 
rising in his breast. 

"Ay, 'tis Sir Nicholas!" cried I. "By God's 
wounds, this is a strange thing!" 

There they stood together — the Colonel of Con- 
naught and Eva O'Malley. Like Burke, my heart 



grew light, as if a great weight had been taken 
from me, for I knew that Malby must have some 
proposal to make us which must be to our advan- 
tage, otherwise he would never thus have ventured 
to come. 

If he was not exactly alone, he had apparently 
but few of his soldiers with him ; and evidently, 
therefore, he was determined to show us that what- 
ever it was he was to offer us was offered to men 
in whom he had implicit faith. 

And what had Eva said, what promised, what 
undertaken for us . ; How had she managed to bring 
him . ; What had this little weak woman, who could 
yet be so great and strong, done ? 

And I still glow with a pride in her that is too 
deep and too high for words when I think of it all. 
Surely, it was nothing but a miracle, as Burke had 
said. One thing, at least, was now certain, and that 
was that Grace O'Malley was alive, or Malby would 
not have come to us. 

The Grey Wolf having dropped her anchor, Eva 
and Sir Nicholas immediately made signs to Richard 
Burke and me to go over to them, and we hastened 
to comply with their wish. As we approached, Sir 
Nicholas saluted us both very courteously, and we 
bowed low in return. Eva was the first to speak. 

" I went this morning to Sir Nicholas," said 
Eva : I was detained at the water gate, but " 

" You are a brave as well as a beautiful woman/' 
said he, interrupting her, " and I regret that there 
was any delay at the gate.' 3 



u It would have been singular," replied she, 
smiling, u if there had not been some opposition. 
However, having stated who I was, I prevailed after 
some time upon the captain of the watch to send 
me to Sir Nicholas. I wished to see if Sir 
Nicholas utterly refused to accept a ransom for 
our mistress." 

"Yes," said I, eagerly. f; We will pay it gladly." 

" He refused to receive a ransom, however/ 1 said 

"Then " asked I. 

" He had better tell you himself what he pro- 
poses," said she. " He asked me if I thought you 
would agree, and knowing how you and the Mac- 
William now feel with respect to Sir James 
Fitzmaurice, I answered that I deemed it probable 
enough. He next wished to know how he was to 
convince you of his sincerity, and I suggested his 
coming with me as a proof it. But that I have 
passed my word to him, pledging you and Richard 
Burke also to his safety, he is in our hands." 

"I will be frank with you," said Sir Nicholas, 
bluntly, " and not waste words. You wish to free 
your mistress, and you have a quarrel with Sir James 
Fitzmaurice so that you no longer can fight by his 
side against us. If you and the Mac William will join 
your men to mine, I will not only set Grace O'Malley 
at liberty, but will confirm her in possession of her 
estates in the Queen's name, and also grant what 
I know she desires in respect of her ships." Sir 
Nicholas paused, eyeing us narrowly. 



" The Mac William and I are proclaimed rebels/ 
said I. 

" Come to the aid of her Highness/' said he, " and 
you will be rebels no longer." Then, as he saw that 
we both were silent, he said — and here he touched us 
to the quick — " Have you no desire to be avenged on 
Fitzmaurice and the Desmonds ? " 

" Ay, by the Mass, yes/' cried Burke. 

" What say you, Ruari Macdonald ? " asked Sir 

" Tell me first," said I, " how stands Desmond in 
this matter ? " 

" He has gone to Askeaton again," said he, " and 
as he will not declare himself for the Queen, he must 
be judged to be against her." 

" Did you say anything to Grace O'Malley of this 
errand of yours to us ? Does she know of it ? " 
asked I. 

" Yes," said he. 

" And what is her word to us ? " 

"'Bid these men of mine avenge me, and that 
right speedily/ That was what she said." 

" Well spoken ! " cried Richard Burke. 

" I have never disobeyed her yet," said I, " and I 
shall not do so now." 




As we four stood facing each other on the poop of 
The Grey Wolf, there was the sound of a door opened 
and closed, and then the pit-pat of steps on the deck, 
and well did I know who it was. 

" Grace O'Malley ! " cried I joyously, turning 
towards her. 

"Grace O'Malley !" said Richard Burke, and 
could not say more for very gladness. 

My mistress smiled upon us, as she gave one hand 
to the Mac William and the other to me; but as I 
gazed upon her I saw that those great eyes of hers 
w r ere deep-shadowed with sadness. And well could I 
understand how the failure and defeat of her most 
cherished hopes, brought about by the perfidy of 
Desmond, and acquiesced in by Fitzmaurice, preyed 
upon her mind and filled her with gloom. What she 
now said to me showed how her thoughts ran. 

" So you are become a Queen's man, Ruari ! " 

"I am your servant, Grace O'Malley ," said I. 
"What care I whose man I am, so long as I am 
yours ! If you say be a Queen's man, then Queen's 
man am I." 

" And you, Richard Burke ? " she asked. 

" You well know what I would say ! " answered he, 



" It is well," said she; but if slie had said, " It is 
ill," her accents could hardly have been more sober 
or less exultant. And for myself, when I recalled the 
image of de Vilela, who must henceforth be our foe, 
and all that I owed him, I could not but share in and 
sympathise with her feelings. 

Sir Nicholas Malby, perhaps guessing something 
of what we were thinking, and anxious to reap the 
fullest benefit as soon as possible from our alliance 
with him, brought the conversation sharply round to 
Fitzmaurice and the Geraldines. 

He was enough of a tactician to say very little of the 
past or of the Spaniards ; only he harped incessantly 
on the baseness with which our mistress had been 
treated by her own countrymen, and so wrought upon 
our desire for revenge. 

" Here and now is your opportunity ! There is no 
time to be thrown away. Each day sees Fitzmaurice 
in a stronger position, as men pour into his camp 
irom all directions. Desmond, meanwhile, like the 
weakling he is, still hesitates. If Ave are to succeed, 
the blow must be struck at once— should he join 
Fitzmaurice, I may have to wait till soldiers come 
from England; if we move at once, however, though 
the enemy is more numerous than our combined 
forces, we are, I believe, a match for them." 

" Tell us 3'our plans," said Richard Burke, and 
thereupon Sir Nicholas began to discuss with us what 
course was to be pursued. 

He appeared to be well-informed of all that was 
going on in the camp of Fitzmaurice, and was 




determined to offer him battle at once. With this 
end in view, we agreed to move up the galleys that 
very afternoon to Limerick, and anchor them in 
the harbour within its walls. 

It was not without misgiving's that I consented to 
this, for then we should be indeed at the mercy of Sir 
Nicholas ; but he was so fair and open with us, and 
had so placed himself, without reserve, as it were, in 
our hands, that I gave way ; nor, as the event showed, 
was our trust misplaced. 

I returned to The Cross of Blood, and in a very 
fevvr minutes, the three galleys were on their way to 
Limerick, where their appearance shortly afterwards 
created no small stir among its inhabitants. 

Thinking that Grace O'Malley and Eva would 
prefer being left together, I had taken Sir Nicholas on 
board of my ship ; and he and Burke and I considered 
the situation of affairs, and resolved that next morn- 
ing we should ail march out from Limerick and 
engage Fitzmaurice. Sir Nicholas estimated our 
whole force at a thousand men, most of whom were 
hardened soldiers and veterans of war, nor did he 
anticipate that we should meet with any strenuous 
resistance, save from the Spanish troops, who would 
be certain to light desperately. 

One favour I asked of Sir Nicholas, and only one. 
I told him that there was amongst the Spaniards 
a gentleman — a certain do Yilela — to whom I was 
beholden by the greatest of obligations, and I begged 
of him this boon — if it should be the fortune of war 
that Don Francisco were taken alive, then that he 



should be given up to me upon my paying such a 
ransom as would satisfy the captors. And to this 
Sir Nicholas very willingly consented. 

After we had come into port, and the galleys were 
made fast to the quay, Sir Nicholas went on into the 
city to give orders with respect to his soldiers and to 
prepare for the morrow. But, ere he left us, he said 
he would either come himself to see me late that 
night to give us his final commands, or would send 
one of his chief captains in his place. 

As I watched that sturdy figure of his, I recalled 
that when I had last talked with him it was on the 
night of the revel in Galway, and could not but 
marvel at the strange dance both he and I had 
been led by fate since that time. 

Also I did not fail to reflect that, while Sir 
Nicholas had spoken confidently of our ability to 
cope with the enemy, he must have deemed his 
position to be critical in the extreme, or he never 
would have made terms with us. Nothing but the 
stern compulsion of necessity could have forced him 
to act as he had done — nothing else, indeed, could 
have justified him. 

I was sure, being acquainted with the nature of 
the man, that it would have been more congenial to 
him to have fought us, as well as Fitzmaurice. Being 
placed, however, as he was, he had seen, with the 
quickness and shrewdness of a man well versed in 
affairs, how he could make use of the division 
between us and Fitzmaurice, and turn it to his 
profit and the service of the Queen. 



His need of us must have been very great for 
him not only to have to relinquish the vengeance 
he had vowed against my mistress and myself, but also 
to ask for our aid. But would our assistance suffice ? 

My heart beat fast and quickly as I thought that 
the morrow's battle might have a very different result 
from that which he expected. To say the least, our 
victory was very uncertain, seeing that our combined 
forces were probably far outnumbered by those of 

After I had spent an hour or two musing in this 
fashion, I saw Eva appear on the deck of The Grey 
Wolf. All my doubt of the issue of the morrow 
vanished immediately, and a swelling tide of love 
and tenderness swept over me as I beheld my dear. 
In truth, I had loved her all my life ; but there was 
now mingled with my love a feeling that was close 
akin to worship, for what had not she dared ? 

Thank God, I say again, for the great hearts of 
women ! 

She did not at once perceive me, and I observed from 
the pensive droop of her head and of her body thSt 
she was weary. There was now nought between us — 
but a few feet of water ; and I quickly made my way 
to her side. She greeted me with a radiant smile, 
and love's own light was shining in her soft eyes. 

" Ruari ! " 

And love, too, was in her voice. 

Long did we hold sweet converse together, saying 
such fond things to each other as lovers say ; but it is 
not for me to set them forth. 



When I asked her what had put it into her mind 
to go to Sir Nicholas Malby, she replied that after the 
conversation we had had, in which she had suggested 
offering a large sum to him as a ransom for Grace 
O'Malley — a notion which I had scouted — she had pon- 
dered the matter, and had resolved, without informing 
me of her intention, to endeavour to gain admittance 
to Sir Nicholas, and to tell him that he had only to 
name what amount of treasure he required to pur- 
chase our mistress's liberty, and it would be given. 

" I felt an irresistible impulse/' said Eva, " and it 
was so strong upon me that I could get no rest until I 
had seen Sir Nicholas." 

" Did Sir Nicholas receive you well ? " 

" Yes, indeed," said Eva. " He was disposed to 
regard my appearance as most fortunate, for he had 
already been casting about for some means of com- 
municating with you and the MacWilliam." 

And here our talk was interrupted by the sharp 
ringing of the hoofs of horses upon the stones of the 
quay, the clank of arms, and shouted words of com- 

" Sir Nicholas again ! " cried I, and we went for- 
ward to meet him. 

" All is well/' said he briefly, but briskly. u I wish 

you to disembark your men " and here he stopped ; 

" but where is Richard Burke ? " 

" He is with Grace O'Malley," said Eva. 

Sir Nicholas stood for an instant lost in thought. 

" Rumours have reached us/' said he, at length, 
" that the MacWilliam is greatly desirous of allying 





himself with Grace O'Malley more nearly than as 
a mere comrade and friend in war." 

His words were a question, and I could almost 
have sworn there was a twinkle in those fierce 
eyes of his. 

"Yes, that is true," I answered, seeing no need 
for any equivocation or denial. 

" It would be no bad thing," said he, " for after 
what has passed they will surely be loyal to her 

" Yes," said I, somewhat drily, " but that will 
also depend upon her Highness." 

" Her Highness," cried he, " can mean nothing 
but good to this her realm of Ireland. Peace 
and quiet are essential to its prosperity, and these 
she will have, and so, by God, shall I." 

" Let us go and see them," said I ; for what 
he had said seemed to me very like halloaing before 
we were out of the wood, as it were. 

When we entered the cabin, I saw at once that 
my mistress had recovered something of her usual 
spirits, while Richard Burke's honest face was 
bright with happiness. It needed no voice to tell 
me that he had again made suit to her, and that 
she had not repulsed him. 

And so best, thought I. 

But there was a stern business before us, for we 
must win our way to the hands of our brides across 
a field of blood. 

Sir Nicholas began at once to tell us what he had 
arranged with respect to us and his English troops. 



At dawn we were all to cross the Shannon, and, 
plunging into the forest, march upon the camp of 
Fitzmaurice. He trusted that he might come upon 
Sir James unawares, or, at any rate, before he had 
had time to make the best disposition of his men. 

When all these matters had been settled between 
us, we bade Grace O'Malley and Eva farewell. 

"Wear this," said Grace O'Malley, on parting, to 
Richard Burke, taking a ring from her finger and 
putting it into his hand, " and wear it for my sake." 

As for myself, I had secretly possessed myself 
of a silken riband of Eva's, and twined it about the 
guard of my sword. That was guerdon enough for 
me until I should return to claim her. 

" Victory ! " cried my mistress to me. 

" Amen and amen to that ! " said Sir Nicholas and 
we all, in a breath. 

Then we went, each one to his place, and the 
darkness covered us all till morning came. 

In the twilight of the dawn we assembled to the 
sound of trumpets, and then were rapidly carried 
across the river to its south side, landing about two 
miles east of Limerick. 

The troops of Sir Nicholas were composed of 
Englishmen and of Irishmen too, though these were 
chiefly from the Pale ; all men who had taken part in 
many a fight, and gloried in nothing so much as in 
the red riot of war. Two hundred of them w r ere 
mounted, and a hundred, or perhaps more, bore 
arquebuses upon their shoulders. But the major 
portion of them were armed with long pikes, and 



nearly all had swords or daggers. The Burkes and 
the O'Malleys had the Irish sword and the stabbing 
poniard and the still more terrible battle-axe. 

The men on horseback went first; then the 
MacWilliam and I with our men, followed by the 
soldiers with arquebuses; last of all, Sir Nicholas 
and his pike-men. 

Such was the order of our march until we were 
within half a mile of the outposts of Fitzmaurice's 
camp. But already his spies had warned him of our 
approach, and we could hear, even at that distance, 
the noise of the commotion among his forces as they 
prepared to receive us. 

We now advanced more slowly, throwing out 
single soldiers here and there among the trees, while 
the mounted men were halted. 

The main body was massed together as closely as 
the nature of the ground would permit, Sir Nicholas 
himself directing all our movements with the utmost 
coolness and unconcern. 

As we pressed onward there was a sharp crack of 
an arquebus, then another and another, until the air 
was full of the sounds of firing ; and then the men 
who had been sent forward fell back, crying that the 
Spaniards were drawn up in battle array, and were 
waiting to fall upon us so soon as we came near. 
Before we emerged from the forest into the open 
Sir Nicholas brought up his arquebusiers, bidding 
Burke and myself to support them. At the same 
time he ordered his mounted men to the front. 

When we burst out from among the trees we were 



met by a hail of bullets from the pieces of the 
Spaniards, and a cloud of whirring arrows seemed to 
form and break over our heads. For a time we were 
thrown back, but returning, like a wave flinging itself 
upon the shore, rushed furiously on the enemy, the 
arquebusiers of Sir Nicholas meanwhile pouring a 
deadly fire in upon the ranks of Fitzmaurice. 

There was the sudden hoarse blare of a trumpet, 
the strident voice of Sir Nicholas crying on us to 
charge, and our horsemen threw themselves madly 
upon the foe, who sullenly gave way before them, but 
only to form up quickly again. The men opposed to 
them were neither cowards nor strangers to the art of 
war ; they were rallied speedily by their captains, and 
soon presented a new front to our attack. 

The air was so darkened by smoke, and there was 
such a tumult from the shoutings of the soldiers and 
the clang and clamour of their weapons and all the 
wild work of war, that it was some time before I 
could make out de Vilela among the Spaniards. But 
there he was, his long sword gleaming in his hand, 
his lips moving, and, though I could not hear what 
he was saying, I could well imagine that he was 
exhorting his men to remember Spain, and to acquit 
themselves as became her sons. Then, as the battle 
raged, now here, now there, he passed out of my 

It is a soldier's duty to do what his general bids 
him ; but I was glad when Sir Nicholas called upon 
Burke and nryself to lead our people against that part 
of Fitzmaurice's army which was chiefly made up of 



the Geraldines, and which was commanded by Sir 
James himself. Sir Nicholas lightly judged that our 
animosity would burn more fiercely against them 
than against the Spaniards, and we sprang upon them 
with a fury they could not long withstand. 

At the first onset they met us bravely, and for 
awhile there was much fierce and terrible fighting. 
Above their hosts there rose the Pope's banner of 
blue and gold, and around it and Sanders, who held 
it, and his priests, they made a stubborn resistance. 
But they were forced back, and ever back. 

I strove to come at Fitzmaurice, but could not for 
the press. We had a score to settle, and settled it 
was, but not by me, for it was Burke who dealt him 
the fatal blow. I had just parried the cunning thrust 
of a sword, as I was trying to reach Fitzmaurice, 
when I saw the flash of a /pistol in Burke's hand, and 
then Sir James swayed and fell forward from his 
horse. When the Geraldines knew what had taken 
place, they turned and fled, bearing Sanders and his 
banner along with them, into the thicknesses of the 

Having witnessed the defeat and flight of their 
Irish allies, the Spaniards could not but be aware that 
they had small chance of retrieving the fortunes of the 
day, and they now began to retreat. Attacked on the 
flanks as well as in the front, they were thrown into 
disorder, and their retreat became a rout, each man 
striving to save himself. A few, however, stood 
their ground to the last, and among them was de 



" Take him alive ! " I shouted ; but the words came 
too late. 

I was almost beside him, for I had hoped that he 
would surrender to me if I asked him to do so, and 
with that purpose had fought my way even through 
the English to get near him ; but before I reached 
him he had fallen, his armour all stained with blood, 
and his sword broken in his hand. 

With a great, wild cry of grief, the sharpness of 
which was like the sundering of my spirit from my 
body, I threw my sword upon the ground, and, kneel- 
ing beside him, called to him to speak to me if he 
were yet alive. His hand feebly pressed mine, while 
I wept and sobbed like a little child. The lips 
trembled and opened ; the half-shut eyelids faintty 
quivered ; but he could not speak. Again, however, 
my hand was feebly pressed. And so he passed — 
still with his hand in mine — this noble gentleman 
of Spain. 

Nor does there go by a day when I do not think 
of de Vilela, the man to whom I owed so much — so 
much that I can never repay. 

It was the custom in these wars of ours to cut off 
the heads of the principal men among our fallen 
enemies; this the body of Sir James Fitzmaurice 
suffered, the head being sent to Dublin, where it 
was tarred, and put on a spike above the Castle 

But no such indignity befell the body of de Vilela, 
for, having obtained permission from Sir Nicholas, I 
took my men, made a solemn mourning for him, and 



buried him on the field of battle, where the waters of 
the Mulkern go murmuring past ; and there he lies, 
that true and noble gentleman, in a grave without 
a name. 


And thus ended the battle of Barrington Bridge, as 
it is called, entailing with it the overthrow and 
collapse of the rising, for the death of Fitzmaurice 
— although the war lingered on for long afterwards — 
was the death of any chance of success it had. 

Desmond, who had been hanging about in the 
vicinity during the battle, but had taken no part in 
it, later met with an inglorious end, and with him 
perished his house. 

As for Richard Burke and myself, we accom- 
panied Sir Nicholas Malby and his army in various 
expeditions, until the beginning of the winter, when 
he set out overland to Galway, and we sailed from 
Limerick the same day in our ships for that city also. 
Heaven sent us fair and gentle gales — perhaps, to 
make up for all the storms through which we had 
passed — and we came safely into the port of Galway 
where we lay several days waiting for Sir Nicholas ; 
for, at his particular request, we — Grace O'Malley and 
the Mac William, and Eva and I — were to be married 
in the church of St. Nicholas of Myra. 

And I had heard that when these events came to 
pass, there were among the spectators many who 
loved us and wished us well, and many who did not ; 
but to which of these classes Sir Nicholas really 



belonged I know not, for, in the years that came 
after, he and Grace O'Malley and her husband, 
Richard Burke, had many disputes, and the " Queen's 
peace " was often broken. 

As for myself and Eva, we sailed away from 
Ireland to my old home in Isla, where I was chosen 
chief in the room of my uncle, who had succeeded 
my father, and who was now dead. It was in The 
Gross of Blood — Grace O'Malley's last gift to me — 
that we made our journey, and that I returned to 
these isles of Scotland. 

Many years have passed since, and in our life 
there has been winter as well as summer; but still 
there is the same light in Eva's eyes, and the same 
love in her voice. It has been our happy lot to grow 
old together — to grow old in our love for each other, 
though that love itself is as fresh and new as the 
flowers of the first mornings of summer. 

And so we await the inevitable end. 

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With Original Illustrations. 

Three-and- Sixpenny Books for Young People. 

Cloth gilt, 3s. 6d. each. 
Told Out cf School. By A. J. Daniels, 
t Bed Hose and Tiger Lily. By L. T. 

The Romance of Invention. By James 

♦ Bashful Fifteen. By L, T. Meade. 
The King's Command. A Story for Girls. 

By Maggie Symington. 
A Sweet G-irl Graduate. By L. T. Meade- 

Bocks marked thus f can also be had in extra cloth gilt, gilt edges, 5s. each. 
Books by Edward S. Ellis. Illustrated. Cloth, 2s. 6d. each. 

+ The White House at Inch Gow. By s.^Ai 


t Polly. By L. T. Meade, 
t The Palace Beautiful. By L. T. Meade, 
" Follow my Leader." 
For Fortune and Glory. 
Lost among White Africans. 
+ A World of Girls. By L. T. Meade. 

A Strange Craft and its 
"Wonderful Voyage. 

Pontiae, Chief of the | 
Ottawas. A Tale of the i 
Siege of Detroit 

In the Days of the Pioneers, j 

The Phantom of the River. ] 

shod with oilence. 

The Great Cattle Trail. 

The Path m the Ravine. ' 


The Hunters of the Ozark. 
The Camp in the Mountains 
Ned in the Woods. A Tale j 

Ned in the Block House. 
A Story of Pioneer Life to 

Early Days in the West I The Young Ranchers, 
Down the Mississippi. ] The Lost Trail. 
The Last War Trail. 
Ned on the River. A Tale 

of Indian River Warfare. 
Footprints in the Forest. 
Up the Tapajos. 

or, "Getting Even" with Him. 

he Lost Trail. 
Camp-Fir e and Wigwam. 
Jjost in the Wilds. 
Lost in Sauioa. A Tale of 
Adventure in the Navigatot 

CasselTs Ficture Story Books. Each containing 60 pages. 6d. each. 

Little Talks. 
Bright Stars. 
Nursery Joys* 
Pet's Posy. 
Tiny Tales. 

Illustrated Boolis for the 

Illustrated, gd. each. 
Bright Tales and Funny 

Merry Little Tales. 
Little Tales for Little 

Little People and Their 


Tales Told for Sunday. 
Sunday Stories for Small 

Stories and Pictures for 


Daisy's Story Book. 

Dot's Story Book. 

A Nest of Stories. 

Good Night Stories. 

Chats for Small Chatterers. | 

Auntie's Stories. 
Birdie's Stcry Book. 
Little Chimes. 
A Sheaf of Tales. 
Dewdrcp Stories. 

Little Cues. Containing interesting Stories. All 

Biole Pictures for Boys 

and Girls. 
Firelight Stories. 
Sunlight and Shade. 
Rub-a-dub Tales. 
Fine Feathers and FiuSy 


Scrambles and Sorapes. 
Tittle Tattle Tales. 
Dumb Friends. 
Indoors and Out. 
Some Farm Friends. 

Those Golden Sands. 
Littie Mothers and their 

Our Pretty Pets. 
Our School day Hours. 
Creatures Tame. 
Creatures Wild. 
0"r> and Down the Gardeu. 
All Sorts of Adventures. 
Our Sunday Stories. 
Our Holiday Hours. 
Wandering Ways. 

Shilling* Story Books. All Illustrated, and containing Interesting Stories. 

The Cuckoo in the Robin's { Shag and DoU. 
John's Mistake. [Nest 
Diamonds in the Sand. 
Surly Bob. 

The History of Five Little 

The Giant's Cradle. 

Seventeen Cats. 
Bunty and the Boys. 
The U^ir of Elmdale. 
Claiu id at Last, and Roy's 

Thorns and Tangles. 

The Cost of R.eveng6 
Clever Frank. 
Among the Redskins 
The Ferryman of BrilL 
Karry Maxwell „ 

Selections from Cassell & Company's Publications. 

Elghteenpenny Story Books. 

Wee Willie Winkie. 
Up s and Downs of a Con- 
key's Life. 
Three Wee Ulster Lassies 
T7p the Ladder. 
Dick's Hero; & other Stories. 

All Illustrated throughout. 

Tom Morris's Error. 

The Chip Boy. 
Hoses from Thorns. 
Faith's Father. 
By Land and Sea. 
The Young Berringrtons. 
Jen" and Left 

Through Flood— Through 


The G-irl with the Golden 

Stories of the Olden Timo. 

Library of Wonders. Illustrated Gift-books for Boys. Cloth, is. 6d. 

Wonders of Animal Instinct, i Wonders of Bodily Strength and SkilL 

Wonderful Balloon Ascents. | 

The "World in Pictures" Series. 

is. 6d. each. 
All the Bussias. 
Chats about Germany. 
Peeps into China. 
The Land of Pyramids (Egypt). 

Illustrated throughout. Cheap Edition. 

The Eastern Wonderland (Japan). 
Glimpses of South America. 
Bound Africa. 

The Land of Temples (India). 
The Isles of the Pacific. 

Two-Shilling Story Books* All Illustrated. 

Margaret's Enemy. 
Stories of the Tower. 
Mr. Burke's Nieces. 
The Top of the Ladder: 
How to Beach it. 

Half-Crown Story Books. 

On Board the Esmeralda; or , 
Martin Leigh's Log. 
Esther West. 
For Queen and King. 

Little Flotsam. 
The Children of the Court. 
The Four Cats of the Tip- 

Little Folks' Sunday Book. 
Two Fourpenny Bits. 

Perils Afloat and Brigands 

"Working to Win. 
At the South Pole. 

Poor Nelly. 

Tom Heriot. 

Aunt Tabitha'a Waifs. 

In Mischief Again. 

^egffy* and other Tales. 

Pictures of School 
and Boyhood. 

CasselTs Pictorial Scrap Book. 

6d. each. 

In Six Books, each containing 32 pages, 

Books for the Little Ones. Fully Illustrated. 

Rhymes for the Young Folk. By William Cassell's Robinson Crusoe. With \m 
Allingham. Beautifully Illustrated, xs. 6d. Illustrations. Cloth, *s. 6d. ; gilt edges, 5s. 

The Old Fairy Tales. With Original illus- 
The Sunday Scrap Book. With Several trations. Cloth, is. 

Hundred Illustrations. Boards, 3s. 6d. ; cloth, Cassell's Swiss Family Robinson. Illus- 
gilt edges, 5s, trated. Cloth, 3s. 6d. ; gilt edges, 5s. 

The New " Little Folks" Painting Book. Containing nearly 350 Outline Illustrations suitable for 
Colouring, xs. 

The World's Workers. A Series of New and Original Volumes by Popular 
Authors. With Portraits printed on a tint as Frontispiece, is. each. 

Dr. G-uthrie, Father Mathew, Elihu Bur- 

ritt, Joseph Livesey. 
Sir Henry Haveloek and Colin Campbell, 

Lord Clyde. 
Abraham Lincoln. 
David Livingstone. 
George Miiller and Andrew Reed. 
Richard Cobden. 
Benjamin Franklin. 

Turner the Artist. 
George and Robert Stephenson. 
Sir Titus Salt and George Moore. 

John Cassell. By G. Holden Pike. 
Charles Haddon Spurgeon. By G. Holden 

Dr. Arnold of Rugby. By Rose E. Selfe. 
The Earl of Shaftesbury. 
Sarah Robinson, Agnes Weston, and Mrs. 

Thomas A. Edison and Samuel F. B. Morse. 
Mrs. Somerville and Mary Carpenter. 
Genera! Gordon. 
Charles Dickens. 

Florence Nightingale, Catherine Marsh, 
Frances Ridley HavergaL Mrs. Ran- 
yard ("L.N.R."). 

*** 'J he above Works can also be had Thru in One Vol., cloth, gilt edges, 3*. 

CASSELL & COMPANY, Limited, Ludgatt Hill, London; 
Paris % New York dc Melbourne*